Northrop X-4 Bantam

The X-4 was developed for the study of flight characteristics of swept wing semi-tailless aircraft at transonic speeds (about Mach .85). Northrop built two X-4s. The No. 1 aircraft was first flown by Northrop on Dec. 16, 1948, and the second X-4 made its initial flight on June 7, 1949. The No. 1 aircraft was grounded after its 10th flight to provide spare parts for the No. 2 aircraft. Northrop's part of the test program ended on Feb. 17, 1950, with the 20th flight of the remaining X-4.

Although both aircraft were turned over to the Air Force and then to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in May 1950, only the No. 2 X-4 was used in the joint USAF/NACA program to explore stability problems near the speed of sound. The program ended in September 1953 with the 102nd and last flight of the No. 2 aircraft, after proving that swept wing aircraft without horizontal tails were not suitable for transonic flight.

Both aircraft survived the test program without serious incident. The No. 1 X-4 is displayed at the Air Force Academy. The No. 2 aircraft is displayed at the Air Force Museum. The X-4 was restored by the Western Museum of Flight, Hawthorne, CA.

Span: 26 ft. 10 in.
Length: 23 ft. 3 in.
Height: 14 ft. 10 in.
Weight: 7,550 lbs. maximum
Armament: None
Engines: Two Westinghouse XJ-30 turbojet engines of 1,600 lbs. thrust each
Crew: One
Serial number: 46-677

Maximum speed: 640 mph
Cruising speed: 480 mph
Maximum endurance: 44 minutes
Service ceiling: 44,000 ft.



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