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Douglas X-3 Stiletto

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|status = Preserved at [[National Museum of the United States Air Force]]
 
|status = Preserved at [[National Museum of the United States Air Force]]
 
|unit cost =
 
|unit cost =
|primary user = United States Air Force
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|primary user = [[United States Air Force]]
 
|more users = [[National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics|NACA]]
 
|more users = [[National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics|NACA]]
 
|developed from =
 
|developed from =
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The first X-3 "hop" was made on 15 October 1952, by Douglas test pilot William Bridgeman. During a high-speed taxi test, Bridgeman lifted the X-3 off the ground and flew it about 1&nbsp;mi (1.6&nbsp;km) before settling back onto the lakebed. The official first flight was made by Bridgeman on 20 October, and lasted about 20 minutes. He made a total of 26 flights (counting the hop) by the end of the Douglas tests in December 1953. These showed that the X-3 was severely underpowered and difficult to control. Its takeoff speed was an unusually high 260&nbsp;kts (482&nbsp;km/h). More seriously, the X-3 did not approach its planned top speed. Its first supersonic flight required that the airplane make a 15° dive to reach Mach&nbsp;1.1. The X-3's fastest flight, made on 28 July 1953, reached Mach&nbsp;1.208 in a 30° dive.<ref name= "Winchester p. 88."/> A plan to re-engine the X-3 with rocket motors was considered but eventually dropped.<ref name= "Winchester p. 89."/>
 
The first X-3 "hop" was made on 15 October 1952, by Douglas test pilot William Bridgeman. During a high-speed taxi test, Bridgeman lifted the X-3 off the ground and flew it about 1&nbsp;mi (1.6&nbsp;km) before settling back onto the lakebed. The official first flight was made by Bridgeman on 20 October, and lasted about 20 minutes. He made a total of 26 flights (counting the hop) by the end of the Douglas tests in December 1953. These showed that the X-3 was severely underpowered and difficult to control. Its takeoff speed was an unusually high 260&nbsp;kts (482&nbsp;km/h). More seriously, the X-3 did not approach its planned top speed. Its first supersonic flight required that the airplane make a 15° dive to reach Mach&nbsp;1.1. The X-3's fastest flight, made on 28 July 1953, reached Mach&nbsp;1.208 in a 30° dive.<ref name= "Winchester p. 88."/> A plan to re-engine the X-3 with rocket motors was considered but eventually dropped.<ref name= "Winchester p. 89."/>
   
With the completion of the contractor test program in December 1953, the X-3 was delivered to the United States Air Force. The poor performance of the X-3 meant only an abbreviated program would be made, to gain experience with low aspect ratio wings. [[Lieutenant Colonel]] [[Frank Kendall Everest, Jr.|Frank Everest]] and [[Major]] [[Chuck Yeager]] each made three flights. Although flown by Air Force pilots, these were counted as [[National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics|NACA]] flights. With the last flight by Yeager in July 1954, NACA made plans for a limited series of research flights with the X-3. The initial flights looked at longitudinal stability and control, wing and tail loads, and pressure distribution.
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With the completion of the contractor test program in December 1953, the X-3 was delivered to the [[United States Air Force]]. The poor performance of the X-3 meant only an abbreviated program would be made, to gain experience with low aspect ratio wings. [[Lieutenant Colonel]] [[Frank Kendall Everest, Jr.|Frank Everest]] and [[Major]] [[Chuck Yeager]] each made three flights. Although flown by Air Force pilots, these were counted as [[National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics|NACA]] flights. With the last flight by Yeager in July 1954, NACA made plans for a limited series of research flights with the X-3. The initial flights looked at longitudinal stability and control, wing and tail loads, and pressure distribution.
   
 
NACA pilot [[Joseph A. Walker]] made his pilot checkout flight in the X-3 on 23 August 1954, then conducted eight research flights in September and October. By late October, the research program was expanded to include lateral and directional stability tests. In these tests, the X-3 was abruptly rolled at [[transonic]] and supersonic speeds, with the rudder kept centered. Despite its shortcomings, the X-3 was ideal for these tests. The mass of its engines, fuel and structure was concentrated in its long, narrow fuselage, while its wings were short and stubby. As a result, the X-3 was "loaded" along its fuselage, rather than its wings. This was typical of the fighter aircraft then in development or testing.
 
NACA pilot [[Joseph A. Walker]] made his pilot checkout flight in the X-3 on 23 August 1954, then conducted eight research flights in September and October. By late October, the research program was expanded to include lateral and directional stability tests. In these tests, the X-3 was abruptly rolled at [[transonic]] and supersonic speeds, with the rudder kept centered. Despite its shortcomings, the X-3 was ideal for these tests. The mass of its engines, fuel and structure was concentrated in its long, narrow fuselage, while its wings were short and stubby. As a result, the X-3 was "loaded" along its fuselage, rather than its wings. This was typical of the fighter aircraft then in development or testing.
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{{aircontent|
 
{{aircontent|
 
|related=
 
|related=
* F-104 Starfighter
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* [[F-104 Starfighter]]
 
|similar aircraft=*[[Bristol 188]]
 
|similar aircraft=*[[Bristol 188]]
 
|lists=
 
|lists=
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