Bell Supersonic Research Test Aircraft Proposal of 1954


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26 November 2008
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Just posted an article on this little known Bell proposal to NACA for a dedicated supersonic research vehicle at


It was similar in concept to the Bristol 188. The article features 2 sheets of drawings traced from the original blueprint and shows three different engine configurations. While it was a rather spartan design, the aircraft does have an interesting retractable canopy for takeoffs and landings. As always, if anyone has additional information to add, feel free to comment here or at Thanks!
A well worked out proposal. Some of the details are reminiscent of modern software engineering practices. NACA was pretty shortsighted to have rejected the proposal. Then again, hindsight is 20/20.
General similarities to the 1956 Bell WS118P (from


  • WS118P.jpg
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Never let a good configuration go to waste, I guess! Very interesting evolution of the basic design.
Was this to a NASA request for proposal? If so, what project was chosen by NASA?
I believe it was unsolicited; NACA/NASA relied on surplus military aircraft and various X-planes for supersonic research.
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