South Coast-based aviation historian authors new book about history of groundbreaking X-plane series
Book by former Air Force and NASA historian starts with iconic X-1, the first aircraft to break the sound barrier.
2022 marks an aviation milestone. It was 75 years ago that the experimental X-1 aircraft smashed through the sound barrier in a flight over Southern California.
"It was maybe the most important event in aeronautical history since the Wright Brothers flight," said aviation and space historian Mike Gorn.
Gorn says that craft was the first in a series carrying the experimental “X” designation which continues to this day. The Ventura County man has written a new book about the history of the X series, called X-Planes from the X-1 to the X-60: An Illustrated History.
He says there are some very exciting X-planes under development. One is the X-59. It’s like the Concorde, which was developed as a passenger plane in the 1960’s to fly at supersonic speeds. But, because of the sonic booms it created, it’s use was limited, it couldn’t fly over land. The X-59, which is being built in California is intended to be much quieter, perhaps reopening the door to supersonic air travel.
Another cutting edge X-plane being developed is the X-57 Maxwell. It’s a plane which literally flies without fuel, with electric engines.
Gorn is a well known aviation historian. The Simi Valley man worked for the Air Force and NASA over the decades.
The X-planes book is the tenth by the historian. He’s once again teamed up with illustrator Giuseppe De Chiara, this time to bring the images of the X-planes to life.
And, while the book has “X-planes” in its title, Gorn says the “X” series isn’t just traditional aircraft, with wings. He says some in the X series are missiles, rockets, and even spacecraft.
X-Planes from the X-1 to the X-60: An Illustrated History is now available through bookstores, and online through Amazon.