10/2/2012
Wheatfield, N.Y. Plant Produced the Bell X-1, First Aircraft to Break the Sound Barrier

AIAA will designate the Bell Aircraft Plant, Wheatfield, New York, as a historic aerospace site. A historic marker will be unveiled October 14, at a 2:00 p.m. ceremony at the Calspan Flight Research Facility, Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Bell Aircraft, founded in 1935 by Lawrence Dale “Larry” Bell, based its primary manufacturing facility in Wheatfield, New York, where several important aircraft were designed and produced. During the World War II era, the plant produced the P-39 Airacobra and the P-63 Kingcobra fighters. The P-39 was used to great effect by the Soviet Air Force, with the highest number of individual kills recorded by any U.S.-produced fighter aircraft during the war. The plant also designed and manufactured the P-59A Airacomet, the first U.S. jet aircraft, from 1942 to 1945, as well as the Bell 47, the first commercially certified helicopter.

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