National Air and Space Museum lowers Bell X-1 to floor level

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has lowered the Bell X-1 to the floor for the first time in the museum’s history. The aircraft will be on view to the public while it is undergoing conservation to prepare it for display in the museum’s renovated central exhibition, the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. It is the last major aircraft to be temporarily lowered to the floor in the gallery. For the next few months, three of the Hall’s premier artifacts will be on view at eye level—the “Spirit of St. Louis,” SpaceShipOne and the Bell X-1. On October 14, 1947, the Bell X-1 became the first airplane to fly faster than the speed of sound. Piloted by U.S. Air Force Capt. Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager, the X-1 reached a speed of 1,127 kilometers (700 miles) per hour, Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 13,000 meters (43,000 feet). Yeager named the airplane “Glamorous Glennis” in tri

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