Edwards Air Force Base, South Base, X-1 Loading Pit, Western Shore of Rogers Dry Lake, Boron, Kern County, CA
Significance: The X-1 loading pit was constructed to attach the X-1 aircraft to the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, from which it was air launched during its historic flights. The pit is strongly associated with the X-1 program and with Captain Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager, the test pilot who exceeded Mach 1 in the X-1 on October 14, 1947. Not only was the X-1 the first aircraft to surpass the speed of sound, the X-1 program yielded information about stresses on aircraft and pilots at transonic and supersonic speeds and began to explore issues associated with high altitude flight. The X-1 program set the stage for later experimental flight research and represents the first step in a series of accomplishments that culminated with space flight. X-1 research proved that high-speed travel was possible, and that space flight might be possible. It set the standard for future research and illustrated the feasibility of cooperative research efforts between the military, research facilities, and the industry. The X-1 Loading Pit has been found eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria A and B.
Survey number: HAER CA-308-A
Building/structure dates: 1947 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1970- before 1980