This will lead to an argument I know, but here it goes. What color was the X-1? I have a book from the Smihtsonian that shows it orange with off-white upper surfaces. However, in Chuck Yeager's autobiography and all the Discover Channel footage I've seen shows it with what appears to be a monochromatic paint job. I realize all the archival footage is B&W, but a two-tone paint scheme should be evident (orange and white are about three steps apart on the gray scale). As crazy as this may sound, is there a way to contact Gen Yeager and ask him? Got to have a chat with him at Oshkosh, but forgot to get his email address....damn.
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return. --Leonardo Da Vinci
Yes, this is crazy and probably pointless. I'm on the volunteer staff of an aviation museum and I ask pilots about the markings and colors of their aircraft all the time. As incredible as it sounds, most pilots have little recollection about what their aircraft looked like. For instance, I've asked WW II pilots about the color of their aircraft hoping to get information about it being medium green vs. olive drab and the answer is usually "it was kind of an olive drab color". Mention ANA color numbers and 99% of the pilots will have no idea what you're talking about. And very often, those that remember anything specific will usually remember it "wrong". I've had pilots describe their aircraft's appearance in direct contridiction to documented records and photos. When I ask a pilot about the paint scheme of his aircraft, particularly a WW II veteran, the answer I usually get is "Hell, I don't remember! We were too busy trying to stay alive to worry about that kind of thing". However I will say that mechanics and maintenance personnel seem to have better recollections of aircraft markings and colors. Of course, WW II was
60 years ago and a lot of memories have become distored or forgotten.
On occasion, you WILL find someone who DID pay attention to what their aircraft looked like. I once worked with an Air Force Vietnam veteran who flew helicopters. He told me how he flew flat black Sikorsky CH-3 helicopters with no markings in support of special operations. I had NEVER seen a photo of a solid black CH-3 and I assumed that he really meant overall dark green since I HAD seen a photo of one. A few years later, some photos appeared in a book (apparently recently declassified) showing an overall flat black CH-3 helicopter with no markings.
It was orange at the time of the Mach 1 flight. Later the white "spine" was added, and the SMithsonian received it in that color scheme. The Smithsonian version was repainted all orange many years ago. Tom Dougherty ( email@example.com)
There is some color footage taken from the carrier plane, that shows the X-1 dropping and accelerating away. The plane has an all-orange scheme. Of course, there's still a slim chance that the film might have been colorized at a later time...