Because Neil was Inverted...

.

April 20th, 1962; Test pilot Neil Armstrong was testing a self-adjusting control system on the hypersonic experimental rocket plane called the X-15.  Utilizing the incredible performance of his X-15, and its climb rate of over 60,000 feet per minute, Armstrong managed to reach an altitude of over 207,000 feet above the surface of our planet, but unfortunately for poor Neil, during the test flight descent, the X-15's nose was held up for too long and the hypersonic rocket plane bounced off the atmosphere like a skipping stone, sending Neil and his experimental aircraft back up to 140,000 feet.

.

.

At that extreme altitude, the air is so thin that aerodynamic surfaces have almost no effect...so Armstrong and his X-15 tore inverted past his landing field at three times the speed of sound Mach 3.0 (2,000 mph) at over 100,000 feet in altitude, and before he knew it, ended up somewhere over the hills of Hollywood.



After waiting for the control inputs to bite, and a sufficient descent, Armstrong nursed his hypersonic thoroughbred
 back towards the East, now exceeding the glide distance of his 15 thousand pound experimental lawn dart, Armstrong somehow managed to stretch his glide just enough to clear the Joshua trees at the south end of Edwards dry Lake bed. According to his chase pilots, Armstrong cleared the trees by as little as 100 feet.

That particular flight set the all time records for the longest X-15 flight in both time as well as total distance from the ground track. and poor Neil wasn't proud of either one...

 

 

 


Leave a comment