Bell X-14 Experimental VTOL (1954)
About the Design
The Bell X-14 was a one-of-a-kind test vehicle designed to investigate the practicality of jet-powered VTOL flight. In fact, the X-14 holds the distinction of being the first jet aircraft to successfully transition between horizontal and vertical flight, a feat it achieved on May 24, 1957. (The plane had its first successful horizontal free-flight three years earlier.) The open-cockpit Bell X-14 was actually cobbled together from several existing commercial airframes. The undercarriage, wings and ailerons were from a Beach Bonanza. A Beach T-34 Mentor donated the tail. The plane's two Viper engines were fixed in position; a series of moveable vanes directed the airflow either downward for vertical take-offs and landings, or to the rear for conventional horizontal flight. The plane had a top speed of 180 mph and a maximum altitude of 20,000 feet. In 1959, the Bell X-14 received a new set of GE J85 jet engines, and continued to be used for experiments and pilot training at NASA's AMES Research Center until 1981, when its landing gear was damaged during a hard landing.
About the Kit
This 1:72-scale resin kit was released by Sharkit in 1998 and is still available at: http://renax.club.fr/sharkit/sharkit.htm.