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The Bell X-22 (also codenamed D-2127) was a vertical take-off and
landing (VTOL) research aircraft with tilting ducted propellors. It
was initially created to fulfill a US Navy brief.
Two prototypes were constructed, and the first flight tests were conducted
in March of 1966. Unfortunately, after a heavy landing the first prototype
was damaged beyond repair. The second Bell X-22 however flew up until
1984 when it was retired, it now resides in the Niagra Aerospace Museum
in Niagra Falls, New York.
During its operational lifetime the Bell X-22 was used in tests for
all three branches of the US military, as well as the US Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) and NASA. Its final role was as a VTOL research
aircraft operated by Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory.
Powering the Bell X-22 were four 1250 horsepower GE turboshaft engines
mounted in the rear wing stubs. The four ducted fans were connected
to a common driveshaft. Top speed of the Bell X-22 was 316 mph (509
A feature of the Bell X-22 which proved useful from the outset was
its variable stability system. This allowed researchers to alter the
flight characteristics to simulate other VTOL aircraft.
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