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Earning my virtual astronaut wings

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After finding and reading this Mudspike article, I got an inspiration to finally try to put the X-Plane 11's default X-15A through its paces.

Slung under the wing of a B-52 launch aircraft, flying at 45000 ft over Tonopah, Nevada. 

All set and ready to go. Target for today: to get high. Preferably up to 50 miles or more. Edwards AFB is somewhere there in front of us, about 180 nautical miles away.

Off we go! After drop, light up that XLR-11 rocket engine in the back and start our climb.

Pulling up to about 50 degrees pitch up attitude while the engine is quickly burning through its limited fuel supply.

After engine is out, we continue coasting up towards the peak of the of the ballistic trajectory, leaving much of the atmosphere somewhere below us.

View towards Pacific Ocean while still heading upwards.

Over the top!

What goes up, must come down. In case of the X-15, both happen quite fast, too.

Hitting Mach 4 on our way down, before starting to pull out of the dive.

Leveled out, decelerating, and arriving over Edwards AFB, California.

Circling to land at runway 35.

Looks like we'll make it!

Lining up...

Last few feet to go...

And we're back on terra firma!

Coasting to stop on the dry lakebed runway.

Time to see how we did. Using Little Navmap to record our flight and saving the flight path in GPX format, we can display and analyze it in Google Earth Pro. 

On this flight, we got up to 287175 feet, or an altitude of 54.39 miles. Back in the day when X-15 operations were going on in the mid to late 1960's, 50 miles was the limit above which the pilot would qualify for his astronaut wings. Total distance of our free flight was 270 miles, which took 11 minutes and 28 seconds.

Edited by EchoKilo
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3 hours ago, EchoKilo said:

Target for today: to get high.

Go and visit Colorado... :happy:

An excellent set of screenshots - nice bit of gliding!

Mark Robinson

Part-time Ferroequinologist

Author of FLIGHT: A near-future short story (ebook available on amazon)

I made the baby cry - A2A Simulations L-049 Constellation

Sky Simulations MD-11 V2.2 Pilot. The best "lite" MD-11 money can buy (well, it's not freeware!)

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Nice pics...I've only ever flown that thing low....doesn't work so well hahaha...it's not your average bush plane

|Ryan Butterworth|

| i7 4790K@4.4GHz | 32GB RAM | EVGA GTX 1080Ti | ASUS Z97-Pro | 1TB 860 Evo | 500GB 840 Evo Win10 Pro | 1TB Samsung 7200rpm | Seasonic X750W |



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