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Bell X-5


The X-5 was the world's first high-performance airplane to vary the sweepback of its wings in flight. It investigated the characteristics of variable sweep aircraft in flight and the feasibility of producing aircraft with this feature. The X-5 was based upon the design of a Messerschmitt P. 1101 airplane discovered in Germany at the end of World War II (and which could vary its sweep only on the ground).

Two X-5s were built, and the first flight occurred in June 1951. One of the X-5s was destroyed in October 1953, when it failed to recover from a spin at 60 degrees sweepback. The other was delivered to the museum in March 1958.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Engine:
Allison J35 of 4,900 lbs. thrust
Maximum speed: 690 mph
Range: 500 miles
Service ceiling: 50,700 feet
Wingspan: 32 feet, 9 inches with wings extended; 22 feet, 8 inches with wings swept
Weight: 9,800 lbs loaded

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