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Douglas X-3 Stiletto

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The Douglas X-3 Stiletto was the sleekest of the early experimental aircraft, but its research accomplishments were not those originally planned. It was originally intended for advanced Mach 2 turbojet propulsion testing, but it fell largely into the category of configuration explorers, as its performance (due to inadequate engines) never met its original performance goals.<ref name=NTRS>Hallion, Richard P. [http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20100025896_2010028361.pdf "The NACA, NASA, and the Supersonic-Hypersonic Frontier."] ''NASA Technical Reports.'' Retrieved: 7 September 2011.</ref> The goal of the aircraft was ambitious&mdash;it was to take off from the ground under its own power, climb to high altitude, maintain a sustained cruise speed of Mach&nbsp;2, then land under its own power. The aircraft was also to test the feasibility of [[Aspect ratio (aeronautics)|low-aspect-ratio wings]], and the large-scale use of titanium in aircraft structures. The design of the Douglas X-3 Stiletto is the subject of U.S. Design Patent #172,588 granted on July 13, 1954 to Frank N. Fleming and Harold T. Luskin and assigned to the Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc.
 
The Douglas X-3 Stiletto was the sleekest of the early experimental aircraft, but its research accomplishments were not those originally planned. It was originally intended for advanced Mach 2 turbojet propulsion testing, but it fell largely into the category of configuration explorers, as its performance (due to inadequate engines) never met its original performance goals.<ref name=NTRS>Hallion, Richard P. [http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20100025896_2010028361.pdf "The NACA, NASA, and the Supersonic-Hypersonic Frontier."] ''NASA Technical Reports.'' Retrieved: 7 September 2011.</ref> The goal of the aircraft was ambitious&mdash;it was to take off from the ground under its own power, climb to high altitude, maintain a sustained cruise speed of Mach&nbsp;2, then land under its own power. The aircraft was also to test the feasibility of [[Aspect ratio (aeronautics)|low-aspect-ratio wings]], and the large-scale use of titanium in aircraft structures. The design of the Douglas X-3 Stiletto is the subject of U.S. Design Patent #172,588 granted on July 13, 1954 to Frank N. Fleming and Harold T. Luskin and assigned to the Douglas Aircraft Company, Inc.
   
Construction of a pair of X-3s was approved on 30 June 1949. During development, the X-3's planned [[Westinghouse J46]] engines were unable to meet the thrust, size and weight requirements, so lower-thrust [[Westinghouse J34]] turbojets were substituted, producing only 4,900&nbsp;lbf (21.8&nbsp;kN) of thrust with afterburner rather than the planned 7,000&nbsp;lbf (31.3&nbsp;kN). The first aircraft was completed and delivered to Edwards Air Force Base, California, on 11 September 1952.
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Construction of a pair of X-3s was approved on 30 June 1949. During development, the X-3's planned [[Westinghouse J46]] engines were unable to meet the thrust, size and weight requirements, so lower-thrust [[Westinghouse J34]] turbojets were substituted, producing only 4,900&nbsp;lbf (21.8&nbsp;kN) of thrust with afterburner rather than the planned 7,000&nbsp;lbf (31.3&nbsp;kN). The first aircraft was completed and delivered to [[Edwards Air Force Base]], California, on 11 September 1952.
   
 
The X-3 featured an unusual slender, streamlined shape having a very long, gently-tapered nose and small [[trapezoidal wing]]s. The aim was to create the thinnest and most slender shape possible in order to achieve low drag at supersonic speeds. The extended nose was to allow for the provision of test equipment while the semi-buried cockpit and windscreen were designed to alleviate the effects of "[[Aerodynamic heating|thermal thicket]]" conditions. The low aspect ratio, unswept wings were designed for high speed and later the Lockheed design team used data from the X-3 tests for the similar F-104 Starfighter wing design. Due to both engine and airframe problems, the partially completed second aircraft was cancelled, and its components were used for spare parts.<ref name= "Winchester p. 89.">Winchester 2005, p. 89.</ref>
 
The X-3 featured an unusual slender, streamlined shape having a very long, gently-tapered nose and small [[trapezoidal wing]]s. The aim was to create the thinnest and most slender shape possible in order to achieve low drag at supersonic speeds. The extended nose was to allow for the provision of test equipment while the semi-buried cockpit and windscreen were designed to alleviate the effects of "[[Aerodynamic heating|thermal thicket]]" conditions. The low aspect ratio, unswept wings were designed for high speed and later the Lockheed design team used data from the X-3 tests for the similar F-104 Starfighter wing design. Due to both engine and airframe problems, the partially completed second aircraft was cancelled, and its components were used for spare parts.<ref name= "Winchester p. 89.">Winchester 2005, p. 89.</ref>
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==Survivors==
 
==Survivors==
*The sole X-3 was transferred in 1956 to the [[National Museum of the United States Air Force]] at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.<ref>''United States Air Force Museum Guidebook'' 1975, p. 88.</ref> {{As of|2015}} it is on display in the Museum's Research & Development Gallery.<ref name= "Winchester p. 88."/>
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*The sole X-3 was transferred in 1956 to the [[National Museum of the United States Air Force]] at [[Wright-Patterson Air Force Base]], Ohio.<ref>''United States Air Force Museum Guidebook'' 1975, p. 88.</ref> {{As of|2015}} it is on display in the Museum's Research & Development Gallery.<ref name= "Winchester p. 88."/>
   
 
==Specifications (X-3)==
 
==Specifications (X-3)==
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