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Bell X-2 (X-Planes) Paperback – November 21, 2017
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About the Author
Peter E. Davies has written or co-written nineteen books on modern American combat aircraft, including the standard reference work on US Navy and Marine Corps Phantom II operations, Gray Ghosts. He is based in Bristol, UK.
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Thankfully, it's a more substantial work than its 80-page length and small format would suggest. There's a healthy level of detail throughout, including descriptions of the plane's major systems, the painful development period, the captive flight phase, all 20 flights, the fatal accidents that destroyed both aircraft, as well as pilot biographies. There are about 80 illustrations (about half in color), including color plans and profiles, a cockpit instrument layout, a cross-section, and an impressive two-page digital painting. Many of the photographs were new to me, especially those of the "Tempilaq" paint stripes which were used to measure the effects of heat erosion at high speeds.
Although I haven't been converted to an Osprey fanatic overnight, I'm pretty pleased by this book. My only complaint is that a few extra diagrams would have been useful to give a better understanding of the plane's inner workings. I just might have to check out some of the other books in the X-Planes series in the near future.
Although perhaps not the intention, there is also a fair amount of information to be gleaned about the state of the flight test programs for both NACA and the USAF at the time. Enthusiastically recommended for those with an interest in flight test history, the USAF, or the "X-Planes".