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Skystreak—the unknown X-plane

21 January 2018


Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

I don’t know what it is about this aircraft but it stands out in the mind above most others. This example is excitingly displayed in the National Naval Aviation Museum. Quite possibly the red has something to do with it. As well as its pleasing form with nothing extra present which would inhibit speed. The impossibly small cockpit with Lilliputian dimensions for the pilot tells the tale of this aircraft—research into high speed flight. The Douglas made D-558-1 Skystreak in unheralded, especially when compared to the X-planes. Lack of a PR department or no catchy labeling, perhaps? This was the aircraft which explored transonic aviation. Less glorious than the X-1 breaking the speed barrier but significant nonetheless.

The Skystreak was piloted under its own power for each flight in the program. Originally painted in red, the color was later altered to white for better tracking from  the ground. A symposium was held in 1998 on the D-558 Program which generated the book entitled, Toward Mach 2: the Douglas D-558 Program, February 4, 1998, J.D. Hunley (ed.), NASA SP: 4222, 1999, 161 pp.—which can be downloaded as a PDF document here.



Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

One Comment leave one →
  1. shortfinals permalink
    22 January 2018 15:19

    A visually stunning aircraft. Thank you very much for this, Joe!

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