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Sustained Transonic Flight
- Type: SPH
- Class: aircraft
- Part Count: 54
- Pure Stock
KSP 1.3 suited version
The Stiletto was built for the purpose of testing jet propulsion at Mach 2—an aircraft intended to fly and conduct research at long-term supersonic speeds, it was of course plagued by under-powered engines of the time. Despite that, it did have a few other firsts: the trapezoidal, low-area wing would be used successfully in the design of the supersonic Lockheed F-104, and titanium would see its first major use in aviation based on its inclusion in a large portion of the X-3’s airframe.
Built in the SPH in KSP version 1.3.0.
Like most aircraft of the time, NACA was a prime user after Douglas test pilot William Bridgeman completed his 26 flights with the plane. to push the X-3 past Mach 1, a ten degree dive was necessary. On July 28, 1953, the X-3 reached its maximum speed of Mach 1.2—far below the program’s plans, but fast enough to somewhat gauge how a jet engine handled these speeds. After the Douglas-intended tests, NACA chose to test the aircraft further for finding data of transonic handling characteristics. What was found was that, because of the small wing area, the body of the plane carried most of the weight in a roll, making it controllable at transonic speeds. this research (and the shape of the plane) would be used in many designs of fighters and interceptors of the same era.
It’s also worth noting that because of the X-3’s unprecedented fast takeoff and landing speeds, new tire technology had to be developed to keep the tires on the landing gear of the X-3 from failing. This replica handles very much like the original plane; touchy controls, fast takeoff runs, not very eager on the idea of a ‘sharp turn.’
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