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An improvement over the Bell X-1 - the first plane to break the sound barrier in level flight - the X-1A was designed to reach Mach 2.0. Initial test flights commenced in January of 1953. On December 12th, test pilot Charles Chuck Yeager set a record with the aircraft, reaching a speed of Mach 2.43 at 75,000 feet. In 1954, pilot Maj. Arthur Murray flew the plane to a new altitude record of 90,440 feet. Roughly a year later, the X-1A was severely damaged by an explosion while strapped to its B-29 mother ship. The plane was jettisoned and destroyed. Variants of the design, including the X-1B, X-1D, and X-1E continued to fly as late as 1958. Originally printed by the U.S. Air Force and NACA / NASA, this handbook provides a fascinating glimpse inside the cockpit of one of history's great planes. Classified Restricted , the manual was declassified. This affordable facsimile has been slightly reformatted. Care has been taken to preserve the integrity of the text.