By Ben Guenther
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Extra info for North American X-15, X-15A-2
57 ~ ~ j; ~ A distinctive sharp leading edge, made of Inconel-X, was attached to the upper component of the vertical tail assembly of 56-6672 to study heating and accoustical anomalies that might be created by this conliguration. The dorsal tail assembly consisted of a stub lixed surface and a single-piece upper surface which served as the rudder assembly. Attached to the stub section was a two-surface airbrake which was hinged at the leading edge of each half. ~ i ~ ;:. ~ --I ~ '; " ] The ventral tail surfaces for 56-6670 (left) and 56-6671 were equipped with distinctly different leading edges.
The X-15A-2, as displayed at the USAF Museum, still contains an original seat though one that was never utilized in the actual flight test program. Seat cushions were pilot customized. ~ .. - . View of the full-scale X-IS simulator cockpit depicting it as it appeared in aircraft 56-6670 upon roll-out. Of particular note is the fact that the instrument panel board is painted black and divided by white lines that segregated flight instrumentation from propulsion and other instrumentation. This helped pilots prioritize panel references without unduly burdening the decision making process.
Because of its unique propulsion system and the difficulty in bleeding power off to accommodate the needs of various subsystems such as the hydraulic system and electrical power supply, an auxiliary power unit which ran off its own propellant source was installed in the X-IS's fuselage, just behind the cockpit. This unit generated enough power to meet subsystem requirements for any standard or emergency situation. The exhaust dumps for this unit were permitted to protrude above the aircraft skin.
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