Believe it or not, the X-15 rocket plane first took to the air 50 years ago today.
Back in the 1950s, Scott Crossfield (above) and Chuck Yeager would trade aerial speed records, with Yeager being the first to reach Mach 1 (Oct. 14, 1947) and Crossfield being the first to reach Mach 2 (Nov. 20, 1953). At that time Crossfield hit 1,300 mph in NACA’s (later NASA) Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket.
The speed duel between Crossfield and Yaeger was made famous in the book and movie “The Right Stuff”. In 2006, Crossfield died in a crash of his single-engine plane at age 84.