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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 foreign personnel.

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:
Bell X-22
Convair XFY-1 POGO
Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne
Curtiss-Wright X-19

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Bell X-14
Bell X-14

Bell X-14
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