National Geographic : 1962 Sep
at more than 200 miles an hour has gone wrong will get worse." Even after the B-52 is airborne, the chances are only fifty-fifty that we will launch. The X-15 can't take off from the ground; she always needs a launch plane. We fly her in a corridor 485 miles long and 50 miles wide. Called High Range, it extends from Wendover Air Force Base, Utah, to Edwards. So far we have used about half the length of this corridor, but later, as the X-15 flies higher, we will launch farther uprange. A program like ours can count upon an KODACHROMESBY OTIS IMBODEN © N.G.S. Technician examines a "hot spot," a tiny white area on the wing's leading edge. There temperature-sensitive green paint, used on the wing in a test, turned white when the heat reached 1,1500 F. Observers rush out to unstrap the pilot. One carries an air conditioner that will keep the flyer's suit cool until he can shed it. MAJ.THOMASG. BEE, USAF Smoke bombs on dry lake give the pilot wind direction occasional mishap, and we've had our share. An explosion wracked the No. 2 airplane during one of North American's demonstra tion flights, and Scott Crossfield had to make an emergency landing on dry Rosamond Lake with part of his fuel aboard. The nose wheel's shock absorber failed under the un accustomed weight, and the impact broke the back of the plane. Luckily, Scott wasn't hurt, and the airplane has since been repaired and strengthened. Petersen couldn't get an engine light after 447 Right windshield cracked under the stress of hot metal, cutting Major White's vision in half.