Bell X-5

The Bell X-5 was a single-seat jet powered experimental aircraft, which was developed in the USA. It was used to study the change in wing sweep during flight.

Starting point of development was the German jet aircraft Messerschmitt P. 1101 from the Second World War, the basic concept of the fuselage and the tail was ajar. However, when P. 1101, the wing sweep could only be changed on the ground, whereas in flight was possible with the X-5. The X-5 was thus the first real swing-wing aircraft in the world. To obtain the center of gravity, the bearing surfaces of the X-5 was further moved in the longitudinal direction.

X 5 is driven by a single Allison J35 -A- 17 jet engine. Engine inlet and outlet were located under the fuselage.

From the X - 5, two examples were built. The first flight took place on 20 June 1951. On October 14, 1953 the two machines crashed. The pilot was killed. In 1955 the test program was discontinued. The remaining machine is now in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright - Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.

The insights gained from the research project X-5 led to later aircraft such as the General Dynamics F -111, the Grumman F- 14 or the Rockwell B-1. Other countries are also presented later in tiltrotor service. These include the European Panavia Tornado and the Soviet model MiG -23, Su -17, Su-24, Tu -22M or Tu- 160.


  • Wing sweep: adjustable between 20 ° and 60 °
  • Wingspan: 6.32 m and between 10.21 m (depending on the sweep )
  • Length: 10.16 m
  • Max. Takeoff weight: 4400 kg
  • Static thrust: 21.8 kN
  • Maximum speed: 1150 km / h

See also: List of experimental aircraft