> Strange Vehicles > Bell X-14
The single-seat Bell X-14 - which made its first tethered
flight on the 19th February 1957 - was the only open-cockpit
X-plane ever built.
The X-14 was an experimental aircraft (hence the 'X' designation)
designed to help advance VTOL (Vertical Take-Off Landing)
technology. Unlike most VTOL aircraft from the 1950s the
X-14 was not a 'tail-sitter' (like the Convair
XFY-1 POGO). Instead it looked reasonably similar
to most conventional aircraft of the time - aside from
the twin jet engines stuffed in the nose.
The Bell X-14 features movable vanes located in the jetpipes
which vectored the thrust through central jet nozzles
to provide low speed and hovering flight capabilities.
The X-14 was constructed using many surplus Beech aircraft
parts. The tailplane came from a T-34 Meteor, while the
wings and landing gear were taken from a Bonanza.
The Bell X-14 was used to help understand how the Lunar
Lander might react during its decent to the moon's surface.
Including NASA pilots and future astronauts, the X-14
was flown by at least 25 pilots including both US and
After 24 years of flight, the Bell X-14 was retired in
1981 after a particularly hard landing which severely
damaged the aircraft.
The X-14 story has a happy ending however as it was rescued
from a scrap yard in 1999 and is currently undergoing
a comprehensive restoration.
Similar and related vehicles:
Convair XFY-1 POGO
Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne