Note: This aircraft is located in the Research & Development Gallery on a controlled-access portion of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Click here for requirements to visit this gallery.
In 1972 the X-24A was stripped to the basic framework and rebuilt as the X-24B with a more stable external configuration designed by the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory. The new body was delta-shaped and had twice the lifting surface of the X-24A. As a continuation of PILOT, the goals of the testing program were to explore handling qualities of the wingless configuration for extended near-earth flight and for conventional runway approaches and landings.
The flight plan for the X-24B was much the same as that of the X-24A. After being carried to about 45,000 feet (13,680 meters) altitude by a B-52, the X-24B was released. Following ignition and burnout of the rocket engine, the pilot guided the lifting body to a glide landing. On Aug. 5, 1975, the X-24B made the first landing of a lifting body on a conventional runway. A second landing on the same runway on Aug. 20, 1975, confirmed that the lifting body could safely be landed like normal aircraft.
The X-24B made its 36th and last flight on Nov. 26, 1975. It was delivered to the museum in November 1976.
SPECIFICATIONS: Span: 19 ft. 2 in. Length: 37 ft. 6 in. Height: 10 ft. 4 in. Weight: 13,000 lbs. loaded Armament: None Engine: One Reaction Motors XLR-11 rocket of 8,000 lbs. thrust and two bell LLRV optional landing rockets of 400 lbs. thrust each Serial number: 66-13551
Maximum speed: 1,163 mph Maximum altitude: 74,130 ft.