In 1972, the X-24A was stripped to the basic framework and rebuilt as the X-24B with a more stable external configuration designed by the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory. The new body was delta-shaped and had twice the lifting surface of the X-24A. As a continuation of PILOT, the goals of the testing program were to explore handling qualities of the wingless configuration for extended near-earth flight and for conventional runway approaches and landings. The flight plan for the X-24B was much the same as that of the X-24A. After being carried to about 45,000 feet (13,680 meters) altitude by a B-52, the X-24B was released. Following ignition and burnout of the rocket engine, the pilot guided the lifting body to a glide landing. On August 5, 1975, the X-24B made the first landing of a lifting body on a conventional runway. A second landing on the same runway on August 20, 1975 confirmed that the lifting body could safely be landed like normal aircraft. The X-24B made its thirty-sixth and last flight on November 26, 1975. It was delivered to the Air Force Museum in November 1976.
I made several B-52 drop test flights. On my best flight I went to full rocket power at release and climbed, achieving just over 100,000 feet at Mach 2.92 at the top of the arc as my fuel ran out. And wonder of wonders, I actually landed successfully!!
The Martin X-24B is currently at version 1.0.
Download the Martin X-24B version 1.0 (X-Plane version 5.62)
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