Plane: X-15 No. 1 6670 Date: Oct. 20, 1960
Flight: 1-14-27 B-52 T.O.: 0859
Pilot: LCDR F. S. Petersen USN Launch: 0930
Chase: Major Robert White F-100F Land: O940
Capt. Robert Rushworth F-104A Total: :10
Mr. Neil Armstrong F-104D
Purpose of Flight:
Pilot Checkout and familiarization with Limited Stability and Drag Maneuvers.
1. Taxi, take-off, climb, and pre-launch activities were normal with the exception that the part of the umbilical connection which provides inter-communications between the X-15 and B-52 and circuitry for external B-52 launch operator control of the stable table, parted during taxi to take-off position. This placed the stable table irrevocably in the inertial mode and made all communications from the X-15 dependent on the X-15 transceiver. These conditions were deemed satisfactory for continuation of the flight.
2. Left wing down lateral control inputs held by the pilot at drop were adequate to compensate for right roll tendencies at drop. The engines were started normally and round out altitude was 37,000 feet. This was about one to two thousand feet lower than was expected from simulator practice. Following an eight degree climb the airplane was leveled at 50,000 ft. and accelerated to about 1.55. During this time a data calibrate was obtained and SAS gains were changed from 4, 4, 8 to 4, 2, 4. With these settings an 11 to 12° angle of attack positioning turn was started. During the first part of this turn lateral directional flying qualities were investigated by varying bank angle while maintaining the turn. During this turn the SAS gains were further reduced to 4, 0, 0 and lateral directional investigation continued. The only variation in flying qualities noted during the above maneuver was an increase in lateral control sensitivity as the SAS gains were reduced.
3. SAS gains were reset to 4, 4, 8 during roll out for the second leg of the flight plan. Following acceleration to Mach 1.9 on this leg three chambers were shut down and a full rudder left sideslip was established. Slight right wing down lateral control inputs were required to keep the wings level during this sideslip. SAS gains were reset to 4, 0, 0 and the sideslip released. The resulting oscillation had a period of about 1.5 seconds and appeared to be damped to half amplitude in about 3 cycles. It was estimated that the maximum sideslip obtained about 6 degrees. SAS gains were reset to 4, 4, 8 after about six cycles and a positioning turn toward Rogers Dry Lake initiated at 2.5 g's.
4. Burnout occurred about half way around this second positioning turn. The turn was continued and at 1.2 during the deceleration following burnout a pushover to about 2 degrees followed by a pullup to about 11 degrees angle of attack was initiated. During the glide back toward high key position all three SAS gains were set at zero. During mild rolls and variations in speed with SAS off the pilot felt that damping and control was satisfactory and no serious deteriorations in flying qualities were noted. SAS was reset to 4, 4, 8 for approach and landing.
5. Speed brakes were opened to about 1/2 during down wind leg to reduce excess altitude. No trim changes were noted. Speed brakes were closed at about the 180 position but were again opened on final to further reduce excess altitude. At 7500 ft. on final it was obvious that touchdown would occur at about three miles. The pilot elected to close the speed brakes and accept this deviation from the intended 2 mile touchdown point in order to give the chase planes a better opportunity to be in position to provide assistance during flare and touchdown.
6. Touchdown was effected at less than 200 kts. and moderate angle of attack. Nose wheel contact was noticeably harder than on the pilot's first flight. During run out a slight tendency for the airplane to turn left was easily controlled by right lateral control.