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Bell X-5

DAYTON, Ohio --  Bell X-5 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bell X-5 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Restoration staff move the Bell X-5 into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Bell X-5 into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Bell X-5 into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Bell X-5 into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move R&D aircraft into position within the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in November 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Restoration staff move R&D aircraft into position within the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in November 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Bell X-5 in the R&D Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on December 28, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Bell X-5 in the R&D Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on December 28, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Bell X-5 cockpit in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Bell X-5 cockpit in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Bell X-5 cockpit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Bell X-5 cockpit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Bell X-5 cockpit in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Bell X-5 cockpit in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Bell X-5 cockpit in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Bell X-5 cockpit in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Time lapse photograph showing the X-5’s full 20-60 degree wing sweep range. This X-5 was destroyed in a crash in 1953. (U.S. Air Force photo)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 11

Time lapse photograph showing the X-5’s full 20-60 degree wing sweep range. This X-5 was destroyed in a crash in 1953. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The museum’s X-5 flying with its wings swept fully forward, which allowed it to take off and land in a shorter distance, land at a lower speed, and climb faster. With the wings swept back, it could fly faster. (U.S. Air Force photo)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 11

The museum’s X-5 flying with its wings swept fully forward, which allowed it to take off and land in a shorter distance, land at a lower speed, and climb faster. With the wings swept back, it could fly faster. (U.S. Air Force photo)


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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