Red X-15?

Discussion in 'Aircraft & Aviation' started by Billy Leliveld, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. Recently I purchased this one..
    Its a german cardboard model, from Schreiber, I think from the 60 ties, the model looks pretty good, but was there ever a red X-15 in reality?
    I know there was a white one..

    Attached Files:

  2. petero

    petero New Member

  3. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    Not really - from the NASA website:

    "This pink eraser-like substance, applied to the X-15A-2 aircraft (56-6671), was then covered with a white sealant coat before flight"

    I'd read that as the aircraft being all white when launched and infer that areas of the pink ablative were exposed when the sealant coat burned off during flight. It would be interesting to see a picture of this X-15 after landing.


  4. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    There are some post-landing photos of the X-15A-2 in the Jenkins/Landis book, "Hypersonic: The Story of the North American X-15."

    From their description of the whole deal, the pink ablator and white "wear" layer that was placed over it was a time-consuming hassle. Once the ablator was applied, it had to be carefully sanded down and the tolerances for thickness were very, very tight.

    Compounding everyone's nervousness was that the ablator tended to explode when it came into contact with liquid oxygen, so the fear of getting some of the sanding dust in a line or opening somewhere was a concern.

    To me, an X-15 should be black, though....
  5. shrike

    shrike Guest

    There were also reported some (possibly apocryphal) objuections by the pilots to flying a pink airplane.

    Same sort of thing led to the F-117 being black rather than a mottled purple/blue.
  6. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

    "real men don't fly fuchsia aircraft"
  7. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

  8. Carl (Surfduke) Hewlett

    Carl (Surfduke) Hewlett Active Member

    Pink Panther

    The folks in the program called it the "Pink Panther". The paint was to burn off to reduce heat transfer to the skin, (At high speed). It would have had a blunt nose, (and the markings did not show thru the paint).

    Hope this helps in your detailing of the diplay build,

  9. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    The Jenkins/Landis book says the markings were removed from the black X-15 as part of the surface preparation needed to apply the pink ablator material. Apparently, the surface had to be super-duper clean. Then, after the white wear later was applied, only the barest minimum safety markings were applied.

    Some of the ablator material came in pre-formed shapes -- for example, there were pieces which fit over the wing leading edges -- and then the rest was sprayed on. Then it all had to be sanded and evened out to within plus-or-minus .020 of an inch. The intial white coat over that didn't fully cover the pink, so they had to apply more coats.

    In flight, the whole combination of ablator and wear layer actually resulted in near disaster. It caused some parts of the X-15 to overheat, and the heat burned through the skin in some areas and nearly caused a structural failure.
  10. w.holzinger

    w.holzinger Guest

    Hi Billy,

    looking at your X-15 from JFS metal foil sheets I was really shocked. Those models were one of the best available in Germany from the 60ies to the late 70ies. Most of them were also available on normal card stock, too. I built this model many years ago as a normal card stock model, and the color war black! All the time I thought this would be true for the foil sheet model, too.
    Is it possible - well, very unlikely - that the color vanished over the years? I don't really believe this because I have some other kits of this type, and all are OK.

    Best regards
  11. Hello Wolfgang'
    It is realy red, as you can see on the cover, and yes it is a very good detailed model!
    Zum wohl, Billy
  12. cam

    cam New Member

    X-15 Color

    Everyone has done an excellent job on citing the authoritative references for black/pink/white but no red color schemes on the X-15s.

    Just to add that the "black" color was not paint on the machine (as per the SR-71, U-2 etc) but rather the color of the unpainted Inconel meal skin of the airframe.

    The only "red" U.S. research jet that comes to mind is the turbojet Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak. The best color for tracking high speed craft proved to be white, and the Skystreak ended up flying painted white vs red.

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