HPM Publications
Historians of Experimental Aviation and Space Flight
"To publish is to preserve"
A Message to Readers From Henry Matthews
Space Shuttle
DH 108
P.1127 Prototype
Flight Testing
The Saga of
the Bell X-2
Samolyot 346 Gemini
de Havilland

Jean "Skip"
Jack Woodman Boulton Paul
Chief Test Pilot
Mach Busters: 
X-1 Test Pilots
Eric Genders Flight Evaluation
Hawker P.1127
5 Great Post-war
US X-Planes
Mirage I:
A Pictorial Tribute

Eurofighter EAP Saga of SR.53 E.28/39 Pioneer Trident DH 110 Dassault Rafale A   Comet

Challenging the
Sound Barrier
H.P. 115 He 176 Race for
Mach One

Hummingbird FD-2/BAC.221 Conquest of the
Sound Barrier
Bristol T-188

Bell X-1E
X-15 Beginnings
Armstrong Whitworth

World X-Planes Magazine
Issue 1
Issue 2
Issue 3
Special Release #1  

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X-Planes Book-1
Henry Matthews
The Secret Story of the
Soviet Space Shuttle

Out of Stock $30   100 pages
Contents: Early Soviet Spaceplane Projects; The Spiral Program;  The VKS Program; The VKK Program; VKK Test Flights; The Energia Launcher; Transporting VKK Shuttles; The First Flight of Buran; Is There a Future for the VKK?; Pilot Selections; Pilot Biographies.

Follow  the saga of the Soviet shuttle effort, from the pioneering days of Tsiolkovsky and Zhukovsky to the rocket-powered fighters of World War II, the Soviet Lifting Bodies and the various prototypes which preceded Buran and MAKS-- the Russian shuttle of the future. Take a glimpse at the top-secret ramjet-boosted Sanger space bomber. Follow the training of the élite Soviet/Russian  shuttle test pilots. See their pictures. Read their biography. Examine complete flight logs of manned and unmanned shuttle testbeds.
With recently declassified exclusive pictures, cutaways, three-view drawings, sketches and information, the Secret Story of the Soviet Space Shuttle is a great reference for aerospace historians and enthusiasts alike.

James Oberg reviewed this book in Air & Space and called it a "must buy."

X-Planes Book-2
Henry Matthews
DH.108, First British
Supersonic Aircraft
Out of Stock  $40 120 pages
Contents: Sir Geoffrey de Havilland -- the man and the legacy; Beginnings of the DH.108; Flight Testing Summary; Test Pilots; Flight Test Reports; Flight Log (Chronology).

This is the untold saga of the first British supersonic aircraft. Three tailless experimental DH.108 aircraft were built. First flight was in May 1946. On 6 September 1948, the third DH.108 became the first British supersonic aircraft, flown by the legendary John Derry. Tragically all three aircraft were lost in fatal accidents, but the program's 550 sorties made a considerable contribution to swept wing research and supersonic flight.

John Cunningham, the legendary British test pilot who made 160 flights on the DH.108, wrote the foreword for this book and called it "a splendid tribute to the aircraft."

With official historical documents retrieved almost by a miracle, the complete story can be told for the first time. Several former DH.108 pilots provided invaluable archival material for this book. 
The next generation of fighter aircraft is already on the drawing boards. Some of these may be of tailless configuration. Development would utilize the stockpile of information that began to accumulate half a century ago with the DH.108. 

X-Planes Book-3
HCH Merewether
P.1127 Prototype Flight Testing
and Kestrel Evaluation

Available   $30    120 pages
Contents: P.1127 Origins; Engine and Airframe Design; Development; P.1127/Kestrel Flying Techniques and Handling Qualities; Tripartite Evaluation Squadron; Tri-service Trials in the USA; Individual Aircraft Histories and Flight Logs.

The Hawker Siddeley Harrier is the only VTOL aircraft in the world to have passed through all stages of prototype and pre-series development to series production, and then gone on to serve successfully in the armed forces of several nations. It was the culmination of a flight test and development programme which began with a forerunner aircraft, known simply as the P.1127.
This book covers the design evolution of the P.1127 and its development to Kestrel standard, from which the Harrier was finally derived. You will witness the action from the front seat. You will watch the Beginnings of the Formidable Harrier in UNPRECEDENTED DETAIL!
This is the story is as told by the former Hawker experimental test pilot who shared intensively in the project's test and development work for its first ten years, and he bases this account on invaluable and unpublished material from his own archives. Now at last it can be told, FOR THE FIRST TIME, the story of all 6 P.1127s and 9 Kestrels which paved the way for the Harrier! The problems, the challenges, the dangers, and finally the success!!

Second Edition

X-Planes Book-4
Henry Matthews
The Saga of Bell X-2:
First of the Spaceships

Available $30    128 pages
Contents: Origins and Purpose; General Description; The Initial NACA Contribution; Pilot Escape System; Early X-2 Development Work; The XLR-25 Rocket Engine; The Brief Career of X-2 46-675; The Project Continues; The Unpowered Flights of X-2 46-674; The First Powered Flights; The High Speed Flights; The High Altitude Flights; Last Flight; Epilogue; The X-2 Pilots; Iven C. Kincheloe Speaks; NACA X-2 Engineer Richard Day; Flight Test Reports; Bell Progress Reports; Chronology

Before the Space Shuttle, there was the X-15, and before the X-15 there was the X-2. This winged missile, barely wide enough to house a man but harnessing enough power to drive a navy cruiser, went higher and faster than any other airplane before. It extended mankind's reach toward space and was in a way a prototype of the winged space vehicles to follow. It was indeed the first of the spaceships and a tragic but heroic milestone in the conquest of space.
This is its untold story, with many declassified top secret documents, from the first unpowered flight to the last fatal sortie -- the first one beyond Mach 3!!!.
The book includes never-before-seen pictures; biographies of all the X-2's pilots and candidate pilots; seventeen flight test reports; incredibly detailed progress reports logging the day-by-day activities of the project at its apogee, a complete flight chronology with every powered and unpowered flight and many captive and cancelled flights.

Brig Gen Frank Everest, the only surviving X-2 pilot, wrote in his introduction:
" ... this book is outstanding and I am delighted and honored to
contribute. Henry Matthews has very painstakingly documented
the history of the X-2 and reading it caused much nostalgia on my
part as the X-2program was one of the highlights of my life."

The cover is by famous aviation artist Mike Machat

Second Edition

X-Planes Book-5
Bill Norton
The Lockheed XV-4
VTOL Projects

Available   $30    100 pages
Contents: Origins and Purpose; XV-4A Hummingbird; XV-4A Flying Program; XV-4B Hummingbird II; XV-4B Flying Program; Pilots; Flight Log; Specifications

This is the exclusive, never seen before "nuts-and-bolts" history of one of the most obscure aerospace X-programs. It strips away the veil of secrecy that has long shrouded Lockheed's pioneering VTOL work with the XV-4A and XV-4B X-planes which logged a total of 175 flights, successfully demonstrating many important aspects of VTOL flight and technology. The two aircraft crashed and were destroyed, but Bill Norton, a noted author of several major books on current military aircraft, has preserved their history in full detail. The XV-4 last flew decades ago, but has contributed to the heritage of the most formidable generation of fighter aircraft, the U.S. Joint Strike Fighter.

 X-Planes Book-6
Henry Matthews
and Peter Davison

The Speed Saga:
FD-2 and BAC.221

Out of Stock   $35    176 pages
Contents: FD-2 Origins and Purpose; General Description; Wings; Fuselage; Control System; Cockpit; Intakes; Undercarriage;  Powerplant; 1954/Flying Begins; 1955/First supersonic Flights; 1956/Year of the Record-France, 1957/Low Supersonics by WG777; 1958/Norway; 1959/NGTE Nozzles Programme; 1960/Last Flights of FD-2 WG774; Origins of the BAC.221; Description; 1961/WG777 Alone in the Sky; 1962/First flight of T-188; 1963/WG777 Tests Wing Gloves; 1964/BAC.221 Flies; 1965/Incidents to Both Aircraft; 1966/BAC.221 to Bedford; 1967/Ogive Wing Amply Demonstrated; 1968/Crosswind Landings; 1969/Concorde Flies; 1970/Steady Sideslips; 1971/Autostabiliser Tests; 1972/More Handling Assessments; 1973/Programme Completed; Flight Log of FD-2 Registered WG774; Flight Log of FD-2 Registered WG777; Flight Log of BAC.221 Registered WG774

This book, the biggest HPM book so far, has been in the making for more than ten years, but it was decided to rush it into print in late 2005 after long-hidden stacks of exclusive documents were acquired, making it possible at last to tell the complete story of Fairey Delta 2 (FD-2) and BAC.221 in stunning detail, and in time for the 50th anniversary of the record speed flight of Peter Twiss.
Two decades of high-speed flight research are show-cased in this big book, YEAR by YEAR, from the FIRST FLIGHT of FD-2, in 1954, to its FINAL FLIGHT, as BAC.221, in 1973. The highly public absolute world speed record flight is amply covered, as are the excursions to France and Norway, but much cutting edge research by the RAE on the second FD-2 is revealed here too, from the low-altitude supersonic bang research to radar, nozzles, Red Top and wing glove research.
Read this book, see the pictures, loaned from private collections of key project players, watch the action as if you were there, at Boscombe Down, Farnborough, Bedford and then at Cazaux in France and Sola in Norway. Read the biographies of the pilots from Fairey's Peter Twiss to BAC's Godfrey Auty and to the RAE's Dennis Tayler "Britain's smallest test pilot..."
And if that's not enough, you'll read here the personal recollections of the project personnel, from Jack Gaston de Coninck who filmed the two first flights of WG774, to Eric Donald who tested the FD-2 under water, to Elizabeth Mann who tested the flutter simulator, to test pilot Clive Rustin whose emergency blow down system saved the BAC.221, to the incredible Peter Twiss, successfully belly-landing the aircraft with a dead engine, and full fuel load.
The icing on the cake is the flight log section of the book listing almost each of the 503 flights made by FD-2 WG774, the 429 flights by FD-2 WG777 and the 288 flights by BAC.221 WG774. You will get to know who flew what and when. You will be in the cockpit with the pilot and on the ground with the boffins and ground crew.

Peter Twiss wrote the preface for this book.

Attention: Order this book now and get a free copy of World X-Planes, Special Release No. 1: FD-2 and BAC.221, a full-color booklet, priced at $10.

 X-Planes Book-7
Robert W. Kempel
The Conquest of the Sound Barrier

Available   $35    112 pages
Contents: Prologue: The Race Begins; World War II; Jet Propulsion Makes its debut;  The Need for High Speed Research; Flight to the Unknown; Drama in the Desert Sky: Glimmerings of High-Speed Flight research in the USA; The Germination of a Supersonic Design; Bell Aircraft Designs and Builds the XS-1 Airplane; Foreign Influence on the Design; Muroc Army Air Base -- Flight Test Site; Role of NACA at the Muroc Test Site; The Historic Flight; The Epoch of the Golden Age Questioned;  The Historic Flight Data;  The Esoteric Side of Research: The Acquisition and Analysis of the Flight Data; The Final results; The True Mach Number;  The Parting of the Curtain: The Secret Revealed; In Retrospect;  The Epilogue:: The Fundamental Question; The Race for Mach 1 and the XP-86; The XP-86 Airplane; Postwar World Speed Records;  Concluding Remarks; Nomenclature; Abbreviations; The Myth of a Sound Barrier; HG III; M.52; Scientific Explanation of the Historic First Recorded Mach Jump; XS-1 Program Five-Year Summary (No. 1 Airplane); XS-1 Record Flight Conditions; Challenges to the World's First Supersonic Flight;  Responses by Richard P. Hallion; The Messerschmitt Me 262; Challenges to the World's First Supersonic Flight; Physical Comparison of Airplanes; Flight Test Progress Report No. 9 for XP-86 Airplane; The Ultimate Current Propeller-Driven Speed Records After the Messerschmitt Me 209; XS-1 Flight 1 Report by JackWoolams

Very few events have impacted aviation the way the toppling of the dreaded sound barrier did, and author Robert Kempel tells the story in his unique style and unprecedented riveting detail. He also explains why the XS-1 should remain enthroned as the first manned airplane to achieve supersonic flight, despite claims to the contrary.

X-Planes Monograph-1
Henry Matthews
Chronology of MX-324,
First American Rocket Aircraft

Out of Stock  $20   40 pages
Contents: The Origins of Project MX-365; Project MX-334; MX-334 Test Flights; Control and Stability Flight Tests; The Rocket Flights of MX-324; The Unique Flight of XP-79B; Flight Log; Historical Interviews; Pilot Biographies; Specifications.

The Northrop MX-324, the first US aircraft built from the outset for rocket propulsion, was a flying wing of the type John Northrop pioneered. It made its first powered flight more than half a century ago,  with Harry Crosby at the controls.
This most secret project was only revealed in 1947, well after termination. But although the secrecy was lifted, published accounts differed in their coverage of this project because most official documents were lost. There was confusion as to the real designation of the aircraft, the number of powered and unpowered flights, the name and number of pilots, and other aspects.
Now for the first time, the complete story of MX-324, (and stablemates MX-334, and XP-79B) can be told. Flight by flight, test by test, date by date. Read the test pilot reports. See the drama unfold. Discover the rocket wing, which paved the way for the rocket-powered X-plane dynasty: the X-1, X-15 and the Space Shuttle.
In July 1944, America’s first rocket aircraft ushered in the space age at Muroc, California. Now at last, with official historical documents retrieved almost by a miracle, the complete story can be told for the first time. 

Pilot John Myers, who made the unpowered first flight in the program,
wrote to the authorthat the book had information that he himself did not know.

X-Planes Monograph-2
Henry Matthews
Samolyot 346: Most Secret
Postwar Soviet X-Plane

Available   $20    48 pages
Contents: Origins of the Supersonic Program; Initial Development; Production and Testing Summary; The Bisnovat B-5 Program; The French Version: Arsenal 2302

For many years, experts in the West thought that this aircraft never existed and that it had only flown in glides in war-time Germany as DFS 346. The truth is that several prototypes were built in the USSR. Designated Samolyot 346, they were flown in an ambitious but difficult rocket research program until the early 1950s. For the FIRST TIME, the story of this program can be told. Revealed are the rocket flights made by Wolfgang Ziese, a German pilot in the USSR, the rocket-powered B-5, and a little-known French version which eventually spawned the outstanding record-breaking Griffon, a ramjet-powered X-plane.

Second Edition

X-Planes Monograph-3
Ed Hengeveld
Gemini Paraglider:
Land Landing for Gemini

Out of Stock      $20    32 pages
Contents: Beginnings; Ryan's Flex Wing; Paresev; Paraglider; TTV; FSTV; HSTTV...

An obscure but exciting chapter of the Gemini space program by a space flight historian and artist.

There was a time in the early 1960s when it seemed that Gemini, Apollo, and space station escape modules as well as the jettisoned stages of the Saturn launcher would be equipped with inflatable wings for recovery. The idea was outstandingly simple. Safely tucked inside the spacecraft during the searing atmospheric reentry, an inflatable wing would deploy in the last portion of the flight and would be used to land the vehicle in a pre-selected area, just like a glider. Gone would be the need for the vast recovery operation in the ocean, and the uncertainty of landing in an undesirable location.
Unfortunately, the development of this concept into operational hardware dragged on, and the inflatable wing faded from the annals of space exploration. Nonetheless the concept was truly remarkable and this book, by a dedicated space flight historian, traces its history with unprecedented detail and is a tribute to the test pilots and engineers involved. It is a must for every space exploration buff.

X-Pilot Profile-1
Henry Matthews
Geoffrey de Havilland,
Legendary British Chief Test Pilot

Out of Stock    $10    16 pages

Contents: The Early Years; The Tragic DH.108 Program.

In the evening of 27 September 1946, the second DH.108 tailless research aircraft took off from the de Havilland aircraft factory airfield at Hatfield, near London to make a practice speed record run over the Thames Estuary. It did not return. Its wreckage was found the next day in the mud of Egypt Bay near Gravesend, but it was a full ten days later before the body of the pilot, 36-year old Geoffrey Raoul de Havilland, son of company founder Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, was recovered. What had happened?

Second Edition

X-Pilot Profile-2
Henry Matthews
Jean 'Skip' Ziegler, Legendary
American Chief Test Pilot

Available   $12 20 pages
Contents: The Early Years; The X-5 Program; Testing the X-1A; The Ill-fated X-2; Epilogue

This is the completely revised tragic story of Bell Aircraft Corporation Chief Test Pilot Jean 'Skip' Ziegler and his pioneering flights over the Hump and on the X-1A, X-5 and X-2. No less remarkable than the X-planes he tested, Ziegler had served with the Air Transport Command during World War II, and flew one of the ten transports which evacuated 10,000 persons from Burma in a single month. The lean, blond and amiable Ziegler, described by associates as "a man without nerves and a real flier," made the first flight of the X-5 and, in July 1951, the first flight when the small pot-bellied aircraft moved its wings and their sweep angle changed from a 24° position to 20°, making it the first aircraft to change its wing sweep in flight.  Ziegler also made the first flight of the X-2 and died in its explosion, less than two years after the X-5's history-making flight.
Exclusive pictures and data.

Second Edition

First Edition        
X-Pilot Profile-3
Henry Matthews
Jack Woodman First
Canadian Space Candidate

Available   $10    16 pages


Contents: Daring Rescues and Mercy Flights; Arrow Test Pilot and Space Candidate; First Rocket Starfighter Pilot; Rocket Starfighter Flight Logs; SST, TriStar and Chief Test Pilot; Epilogue

This is the thrilling life story of the late Jack Woodman, once Canada’s top-running astronaut candidate, who made the first flights of the NF-104A  rocket Starfighter spaceflight trainer. Before that, he flew operational missions in World War II, made a history-making 4,600-mile flight to rescue a radio operator in Mould Bay in the Arctic Ocean (landing on dangerously thin ice), and trained at the Empire Test Pilots' School in England.

X-Pilots Book-1
Ben Gunn
Boulton Paul Chief Test Pilot
The BPA Delta Story

Available   $20    40 pages
Contents: Beginnings: Air Defence Cadet; The Early Years; Joining Boulton Paul; The P.111 Delta; P.120, the Black Widow Maker; A Date I Shall Always Remember; P.111a, the Yellow Peril; Canberras, Tay Viscounts and Lightnings; The Struggle to Save Shoreham Airport, Delta flight log and type bag.

This is the story of the late legendary Chief Test Pilot, Ben Gunn, in his own words. Hold on to Your seat.
He started flying in Sir Alan Cobham's famous Air Circus.
He fought in the air in WW II and shot down the last Vl flying bomb over England, in daylight, on 1 September 1944.
He flew Tempest fighters in daring low-level attacks inside Nazi Germany.
He ejected inverted from a vicious black exotic X-plane dubbed the Widow Maker, and extensively flew its stablemate the Yellow Peril, which felt like "sitting on a knife's edge."
He led a successful campaign to save Shoreham Airport, which was teetering on the edge of collapse, and made it into the best of the small airports in England.
He was awarded the Medal of the British Empire.

Second Edition


X-Pilots Book-2
Henry Matthews
Mach Busters: 
X-1 Test Pilots

Out of Stock    $20    64 pages
Contents: Jack Woolams, Chalmers Goodlin, Tex Johnston, Chuck Yeager, Herbert Hoover, Howard Lilly, James Fitz-Gerald, Gus Lundquist, Robert Champine, Jack Ridley, Albert Boyd, Frank Everest, John Griffith, Patrick Fleming, Richard Johnson, Scott Crossfield, Joseph Cannon, Jean Ziegler, Joe Walker, Fred Ascani, Arthur Murray, Robert Stephens, Stuart Childs, Horace Hanes, Richard Harer, Stanley Holtoner, Jack MacKay, Neil Armstrong

They shaped the future of aviation on wings of steel and thunder...
In the years 1946 to 1958, the three Bell X-1s and the advanced X-1A, X-1B, X-1D and X-1E accumulated a total of at least 239 flights.  Twenty-eight pilots from Bell Aircraft Corporation, the US Air Force and NACA took turns in the cockpit as the bullet-shaped aircraft explored unprecedented speeds and altitudes in one of the most successful aeronautical research programs of all times. Now for the first time, the biography of each X-1 pilot can be read, with details of major aircraft programs that he participated in, and much more. You know the X-1. Now meet the X-1 pilots...


X-Pilots Book-3
Pauline Shacklock
Eric Genders: Legendary
Fighter Ace and Test Pilot

Available   $20    40 pages
Contents: The Early Years; Greece; Western Desert; Back in England; Log of Experimental Flights

Meet Eric Genders, legendary British fighter ace and test pilot. Revealed in painstaking detail: the adventures, the heroism, the incredible feats, the blazing skies of Greece and the Western Desert, the evacuation, the battle of Crete, the air action, the heroic 21-hour swim to shore after bailing out, the reconnaissance, interdiction and strafing attacks over Libya, then the Empire Tests Pilots' School, the flights to the edge as Commanding Officer of the RAE's Aero Flight and the final untimely death in the crash of the tailless DH.108. Witness the history of one of Britain’s great aces as it unfolds.
Based to a great extent on personal recollections and letters home!!!

X-Planes Flashback-1
Jack Reeder
Flight Evaluation by NASA
Pilots of the Hawker P.1127

Out of Stock  $5    8 pages
On 13 June 1962, NASA Langley Chief Research Pilot John P. 'Jack' Reeder became the fourth pilot and the first non-British to fly Hawker's P.1127 VTOL research aircraft, forerunner of the formidable Harrier. His colleague Fred Drinkwater (NASA Ames Chief Research Pilot) followed him in the same day and together, the two NASA pilots logged a dozen flights on the first P.1127, registered XP831. Their report of this evaluation, written by Reeder and dated 24 July 1962, is published here in full, practically with no editing. It is a unique document, and should prove greatly relevant to anyone trying to trace NASA's important contribution to the success story of the Harrier.

X-Planes Pictorial-1
Henry Matthews
Five Great Post-war
American X-Planes

Out of Stock    $20    32 pages
Contents: Edwards AFB; Bell X-1; Bell X-2, Douglas X-3; Northrop X-4; Bell X-5

Supersonic. Double-sonic. Triple-sonic. Flying Wing. Swing Wings....
The five aircraft in this booklet, the USAF’s first research-dedicated experimental aircraft or X-planes, were configuration explorers which charted new domains of flight and broke new ground in aeronautical science. There were accidents, injuries and deaths, but every aircraft flying today has benefited from these X-planes.
A summary of each program is included, along with picture and biography of main project pilots: Jack Woolams, Robert Stanley, Glen Edwards, Chalmers Goodlin, Chuck Yeager, Arthur Murray, Frank Everest, Iven Kincheloe, Milburn Apt, William Bridgeman, Joseph Walker, Chuck Tucker, Scott Crossfield, Jean Ziegler, Raymond Popson.


X-Planes Pictorial-2
Henry Matthews
Mirage I: A Pictorial Tribute

Out of Stock    $20    32 pages
Contents: Origins and Purpose; Construction, Systems and Equipment; Flight Development; Mirage III 001 Balzac.

If the history of most postwar research airplanes is poorly known, that of initial prototypes of famous operational aircraft is all the more obscure. This is particularly true of MD 550, the Mirage I. This little delta prototype, conceived as a result of the Korean War, bred the Mirage dynasty which has done more than any other postwar military aircraft to place France among the world's foremost aircraft manufacturing nations. This booklet presents the untold story, the competition, the dazzling designs, along with exclusive pictures and drawings.


X-Planes Profile-1
Henry Matthews
Prelude to Eurofighter: EAP
(Experimental Aircraft Programme)

Available   $20    36 pages
Contents: Origins and Purpose; Construction, Systems and Equipment; The Flying Programme; Eurofighter

Sometime, early in the 21st century, a new shape will be flying over Europe: Eurofighter. Produced by Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and Spain, Eurofighters will replace Jaguars, Tornado F.3s, upgraded F-4F Phantoms, F-104S Starfighters and eventually perhaps the Harriers in the air forces of these countries. Eurofighters may also replace the F-5s and various aircraft in Norway and Greece and a number of other countries.
The way for such an outstanding achievement was paved by a little-heralded and now seldom-remembered aircraft: the Experimental Aircraft Programme (EAP) demonstrator, from which Eurofighter is derived.
Initiated as a private venture by BAe (now BAE Systems) with the British Government only belatedly putting in substantial amounts of money, EAP and its Eurofighter offspring survived extremely cost-conscious politicians, indifferent (sometimes hostile) decision-makers and a tug-of-war with Dassault, a company fully-backed by the French government. 
It is now ten years since the little EAP demonstrator last flew and this book is an attempt to preserve its history. It traces its career, from its origin (Air Staff Target 396) to the beginning then the conclusion of the flying programme and the resulting Eurofighter. It contains exclusive pictures of plane and test pilots, a complete flight log of the 259 flights of the EAP demonstrator, a stunning cutaway by Mike Badrocke and new information on the ACT Jaguar, F-104G CCV and other projects which paved the way for EAP and Eurofighter.
Like all HPM Publications, this book is a collector's item and a must-buy.

X-Planes Profile-2
Henry Matthews
The Saga of SR.53
A Pictorial Tribute

Out of Stock       $20    64 pages
Contents: Origins and Design Development; SR.53 Characteristics;  Construction and Systems; The Flying Programme; Excerpts of the Accident Investigations; Flight Log; Chronology; SR.177, Avro 720; SR.187; The SR.53 Pilots

There was a time in the late 1950s when it seemed that Britain stood at the threshold of space. Its tool to join the space faring super powers, would have been a sleek white delta interceptor prototype which used rocket and jet propulsion and was named SR.53. Built by Saunders-Roe, this little aircraft or its more powerful derivatives would have spearheaded the construction of suborbital and orbital air-launched spaceplanes. Its principal derivative, the SR.177, had looked set to capture the huge interceptor market so successfully taken by Lockheed's Starfighter. Political shortsightedness, bad economy and a tragic fatal accident felled this success story in the bud. 
The SR.53 remains one of the brightest achievements of British aircraft industry. For years, its history was in limbo, with contradictions surrounding the number of flights, the boundaries reached, the ambitious plans drawn. 
Now at last the full story of this saga can be told, with never-published-before pictures, complete flight log and company documents detailing the project from conception to end, as well as recollections by project personnel.
Peter 'Sheepy' Lamb, DSC*, AFC, MRAeS, the third and last test pilot of the SR.53, wrote the foreword for this book, which was reviewed and corrected by Richard B. Stratton, chief project engineer.
For every space buff and every x-plane enthusiast, this book is a must-buy!

Second Edition


X-Planes Profile-3
Henry Matthews
Gloster-Whittle E.28/39 Pioneer:
A Flying Chronology

Available   $20    40 pages
Contents: Early History of  the Jet Engine; Sir Frank Whittle; E.28/39 Purpose and Design; Flying Begins with W4041; Sayer's First Flight Report; The Brief Career of W4046; The Final Flights; Some Pioneer Pilots; Flight logs of W4041 and W4046.

Sixty years ago, on 15 May 1941, Jerry Sayer made the first flight of the Gloster-Whittle E.28/39 Pioneer, the first British jet aircraft. It was the third jet to fly after the German He.178 and the Italian N.1 (CC.2), but was the first successful, with both Pioneer prototypes logging a total of more than 240 flights. More importantly, it prompted General Hap Arnold to push for the development of jet fighters in the US and paved the way for dynasties of jet aircraft on both sides of the Atlantic.
Until now, only the briefest information was known about the Pioneer. There were no flight logs and very few pictures. Now, after lengthy archival research, the full story can be told FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME, with complete flight logs, never-published-before pictures (including crash of the second prototype), and company documents detailing the day-to-day running of the programme. This is aviation history. Alive.


X-Planes Profile-4
Henry Matthews
Trident, the Saga of the Unbeatable
French Rocket Fighter

Available   $20    48 pages
Contents: The Career of SO-9000 Trident, the SO-9050 Trident-II, Trident-IISE: the Experimental Series, Trident-III and the end, Flight Log Summary, Specifications, Pilots

The Trident, of mixed rocket and jet propulsion, was one of the most famous French prototype aircraft of the 1950s. It was a glaring example of the impressive rebirth of French aviation industry after the ravages of World War II. It demonstrated outstanding performance and achieved some aviation records which still stand to this day. 
The Trident came close to consolidating in France the new concept of mixed propulsion (the eight prototypes built logged more than 600 flights including 220 on rocket power). Unfortunately, it was axed in its prime. Had it survived, it could have well become the stepping stone to hypersonic and orbital spaceplanes, the way the X-1, X-2 and X-15 paved the way for the US space shuttle.
This book traces the history of the Trident project, from inception to flight development. Readers of English should find it particularly revealing, as the Trident and other fascinating French X-Planes have had scant coverage in the English aviation library. The pictures are out of this world and include a stunning spread of a Trident-II in rocket flight. Like all HPM books, this book is a must-buy!


X-Planes Profile-5
Henry Matthews
Prelude to the Sea Vixen:

Out of Stock      $20      48 pages
Contents: Origins and Purpose; WG 236 and WG 240; XF 828; Flight Tests of the First Production Aircraft; Flight Logs

This book marks the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the DH.110, the prototype of what would later become the Sea Vixen.
If the operational record of the Sea Vixen is known, the story of the extensive development of the DH.110 has never been told before. This book chronicles the development from the first flight, on 29 September 1951, through the tragic crash at Farnborough on 6 September 1952 and finally the first production Sea Vixens.
For the first time, here is the complete and detailed story of the DH.110 flight development program. It is based on a formidable mass of exclusive documents compiled by John Wilson, former DH test pilot and a very good friend of the author.

Former DH.110 pilots have called the book "a splendid chronological record"
and "much enjoyable to read."

Hurry up and order your copy while supplies last.

X-Planes Profile-6
Henry Matthews
Dassault Rafale A: 
A Pictorial Chronology

Available    $25      48 pages
Contents: Origins and Purpose; Construction, Systems and Equipment; First Testing Campaign; Second Testing Campaign; Chief Test Pilots Mitaux-Maurouard and Kerhervé; Flight Log

This is the full colour history of Rafale A, the unique proof-of-concept aircraft that has ushered in French military aircraft of the future with its the 867 flights. More than 60 Rafales have been ordered and the aircraft will equip French squadrons for decades to come. The Rafale A has been an outstanding success and this is its complete history, FOR THE FIRST TIME, with more than 100 COLOR, BREATH-TAKING PHOTOS .

Hurry up and order your copy while supplies last. 

X-Planes Profile-7
David Foster
DH.106 Comet 1

Available    $20     32 pages
Contents: Origins; Project Development; Design; Manufacture and Flight
Development; Flight No. 1; In-Service History; The First Accidents; The
Rome Accidents; Accident Investigations; Partial Flight Log of the First
Prototype; Comet 1 Production Summary; Flight Trials with G-ANAV
(June-September 1954).

Author David Foster served for many years with the RAE, and bases this
history of the DH.106 Comet on a multitude of rare documents. Particularly
interesting is his detailed account of the investigations into the terrible
Rome accidents of 1954 and the lengthy RAE effort which finally revealed
the cause.

The Comet 1 was the first passenger-carrying jet, and this book, fifty
years after the first service flight, sheds new light on a tragic and
innovative program.

X-Planes Profile-8
Henry Matthews
Vertical Explorers
Jet-powered VTOL X-Planes

Available    $10     32 pages
Contents: Bell 65 ATV, Ryan X-13 Vertijet, Bell X-14, Short SC.1, SNECMA Coleoptere, Hawker P.1127, Lockheed XV-4, Dassault-Sud Balzac V, EWR VJ 101C, Yakovlev Yak-36, Hawker P.1127 Kestrel, Ryan XV-5, Dassault Mirage IIIV, Dornier Do.31 E, YakoveleYak-38, VFW VAK 191B, Rockwell XFV-12A, Yakovlev Yak-141

Vertical take-off and landing capability is an inherent characteristic of
many future aircraft still on the drawing board or just beginning their
test flying programs. Most of these aircraft will be jet-powered, and will
make use of the data accumulated over the years by all the past jet-powered
X-planes that flew from 1953 to 1992. More than four decades of VTOL flying
and testing. 18 VTOL types, from the US, Britain, France, Germany and the
USSR. Eight fatal accidents. Hundreds of flights (9 for the Coleoptere, 250
for the Yak-141, 136 flights for the X-13, etc...). This book has it all:
the successes, the failures and the might-have-beens, with many flying
details and data never published before. Who flew what and when? most of
the answers are here, FOR THE FIRST TIME

X-Planes Profile-9
David Foster
Challenging the Sound Barrier

Available    $25     80 pages
Contents: Introduction: "Like a barrier against higher speeds..."; Physical Basis of the Sound Barrier; Effects of Compressibility on Flight Characteristics; Flight Experience of Compressibility Effects in Great Britain; Flight Experience of Compressibility Effects in Germany; Flight Experience of Compressibility Effects in the United States of America; Origin and Early Development of Swept Wings; The Possibility of Flight at Supersonic Speeds; Research Aircraft Designed in Great Britain; Research Aircraft Designed in Germany; Research Aircraft Designed in the United States of America; Overview; Bibliography                    

The dreaded sound barrier fell on 14 October 1947 when Chuck Yeager flew the rocket-powered XS-1 to Mach 1.06 at 43,000 ft. This was the crowning achievement in a saga which began a decade earlier when a Messerschmitt test pilot made what may be the first encounter with compressibility in flight.
This book is profusely illustrated and documents the efforts in the US, Britain and Germany to achieve this milestone in the history of aviation and shatter the dreaded wall.

X-Planes Profile-10
Henry Matthews &
Peter Davison

Prelude to Concorde: HP.115

Available    $20     80 pages
Contents: Origins and Purpose; Construction History; General Description; The Flying Controls; The Cockpit; The Engine; The Undercarriage; The Contractor Flying Programme; SBAC '61; The Initial RAE Evaluation; SBAC'62; The Basic RAE Scientific Research Programme; Vortex Flow Visualisation; SBAC '64; Undercarriage Failure; Le Bourget and Unison 65; Flying Demonstrations for HM the Queen; Flights by French Concorde Pilots; Wingtip Parachute Trials; Explanatory Flight Research Programme; Conversion Training; Slender Delta Handling and Noise Research; "Farewell Old Friend"; Flight Log of HP.115 Registered XP841; Some HP.115 Pilots; Jack Henderson

This is the UNTOLD, UNKNOWN and EXCLUSIVE story of the highly successful British X-Plane which tested Concorde's wing at low speed and paved the way for the supersonic airliner. Its flying career spanned eleven years, more than a thousand flights, and 500 flying hours. Read all about it, with exclusive pictures from the RAE and from very rare footage shot in 1966 by pilot John Farley himself. Feast your eyes at the end of the book on a COMPLETE HP.115 FLIGHT LOG which has never ever been published before. British, American, Australian, French and Canadian pilots flew this aircraft, including Apollo-11's Neil Armstrong. So did Roland Beamont, Brian Trubshaw, John Farley, Jack Reeder and Godfrey Auty.
Harrier-famous test pilot John Farley wrote the foreword for this book and called it a "comprehensive record." He also recommended Henry's efforts to document the X-Planes.

X-Planes Profile-11
David Myhra
Heinkel He 176

Available    $25     52 pages
Contents: A Very Secret Undertaking; The Only Thing That Mattered; Dr Wolfram von Richthofen and the Rocket Powered Heinkel He 176; The Rocket Powered Heinkel He 112R; Ernst Heinkel and Rocket Propelled Flying Machines; He 176 Design Concept; Design Development; He 176 Flight Tests; The He 176's Legacy; Biography of Ernst Heinkel and Erich Warsitz.

This is the UNTOLD story of the Heinkel He 176 ­ Germany and the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket aircraft. Renowned author David Myhra, an authority on German WW-II aerospace projects, has pieced together a gripping account of the challenges that Ernst Heinkel faced in his effort to give his country a new kind of aircraft. In his inimitable style, Myhra looks at the origins of the project, detailing the ground-breaking work of Heinkel and his engineers, then reviews the preliminary work on the He 112R with its triumphs and accidents, including the death of test pilot Gerhard Reins. The book includes a first-hand account of the rocket flights by test pilot Erich Warsitz, exclusive wartime secret designs of rocket interceptors by Wernher von Braun and others, and exclusive pictures as well as computer-generated color and black and white images of the He 176 by digital artist Jozef Gatial. Sanger’s space bomber, in Nazi and Soviet markings, conclude this must-have book.

X-Planes Profile-12
Robert W. Kempel
The Race for Mach One

Available      $20     40 pages

Contents: Introduction, Part One: The Evolution of the Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a; Part Two: The Evolution of the North American Aviation XP-86; Part Three: Documentation Dispels Speculation, Table I. Airplane Physical Characteristics, Glossary, Recorded History of J35-Powered Airplanes' Encounters With Mach 1.

The breaking of the sound barrier by the United States Air Force X-1 (s/n 46-062) on 14 October 1947 was a major aeronautical achievement and notable historical event that is unequivocally recognized as the world's first supersonic flight. The original flight-test data, scientifically recorded, analyzed and documented, from the world's first piloted airplane flight beyond the so-called "sound-barrier" has been presented and discussed in this book. The conclusive evidence of this event, from the raw recorded data to the final numerical data, has been clearly presented.

The North American Aviation prototype XP-86 (s/n 45-59597) has been the subject of a book that puts forth the proposition that this was the world's first supersonic airplane and not the X-1 and that the XP-86 may have gone supersonic as early as 1 October 1947.

The purpose of this book by retired Senior NASA Aerospace Engineer Robert W. Kempel is to debunk this fictitious theory and to explain rationally why the X-1 should remain enthroned as the first manned aircraft to break the sound barrier.

World X-Planes  Profile #1
Henry Matthews and Peter Davison
Bristol T-188

Available    $20     48 pages

1 - Origins: The Avro 730,    2 - From Concept to Prototype, the military variants, building of the T-188 components, the Gyron family ;      3a - The Flights of XF923, canopy jettison trials, proposal for an advanced intake, chase mission profile, flight refueling proposals;  3b - The Flights of XF926, the T-188 at Brize-Norton, T-188, Concorde and TSR-2, T-188 flutter simulator; Complete and detailed flight Logs of both aircraft;   Assessment by Godfrey Auty;     T-188 pilots, advances and some flight test results.

Work on this book began more than a decade ago but various problems postponed its publication until 2010. The story of the Bristol T-188, Britain's stainless steel research aircraft, has never been told in such riveting details. It makes use of exclusive material provided by the late Godfrey Auty, exclusive pictures and recollections by former project personnel. This book, like most of our publications, is the only available book about its subject aircraft.

World X-Planes Profile #2
Henry Matthews
Bell X-1E: A Flying History

Available    $30     32 pages plus cover
Contents: Preface; 1 - The Bell X-1 Family; 2 - Origins of the X-1E Project; 3 - New Features for the X-1E; 4 - The Flying Program-1955; 5 - The Flying Program-1956, X-1E Accident of 18 June 1956 official report; 6 – The  Flying Program-1957; 7- The Flying Program-1958, Research Engineering Meeting of 4 February 1958; X-1E Flight Log (includes captive flights).

The Bell X-1E is considered one of the highly successful early X-planes. Born as a stop-gap solution after the loss of the third X-1 and the X-1D, the Bell X-1E allowed NACA to gather significant data on high Mach number flight and stability. This data, together with reaction-control research on the X-1B and on simulators, contributed to the success of the X-15’s flights into space.
This monograph is the first detailed history of the X-1E’s flying history, and is based on rare documents, flight test reports and progress reports. It includes historical photographs (some in color), and a complete flight log that unusually lists canceled or aborted flights.

World X-Planes Profile #3
Henry Matthews
The Beginnings of the X-15 Project: 1952-1958

Available    $30     32 pages plus cover
Contents: North American Aviation; 1- X-15 Origins and Purpose; 2 - The Rocket Engine; 3 - The Project Takes Shape; 4 - Controlling the X-15; 5 - Preparing the Pilots; 6 - First Manned Space Projects; 7 - X-15 Roll-Out; 8 - The Escape System; 9 - The Landing Gear; 10 - Air Launch

The decade-long North American X-15 program spanned 1959-1968 and ended at 199 flights. By then the aircraft had been flown to a blistering speed of Mach 6.7 and had achieved a record altitude for a winged manned aircraft of 354,200 feet.
But the X-15 produced more than speed and altitude records. It supported the development and growth of the space shuttle and future aerospace planes. Its history should be preserved in full, and the present monograph covers the often-overlooked beginnings of the project, demonstrating its important role in triggering the start of manned space exploration, well before its first flight.
Every year of the X-15’s career, from 1959 to 1968, will eventually have its individual monograph in this series.

World X-Planes  Profile #4
Henry Matthews and Peter Davison
The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.52G

Available    $30     40 pages plus cover
Contents:  The Armstrong Whitworth Company; Origins: The A.W.50; Hurricane Z3687 and Kingcobra FZ440, Hurricane Z3687 Laminar Flow Wing Testbed Flight Log; The A.W.52G Project Begins; Construction, Systems and Equipment; The Flying Program: 1945-1952; A.W.52G RG324 Flight Log; Meteor EE445

The A.W.52G was a scaled glider of a flying wing bomber designed by Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft during World war II. The bomber project was abandoned, but the little glider was used in a highly successful and innovative flight research program from 1945 to 1952. This is its FIRST complete nut-and-bolt history, with stunning pictures from former project pilots and personnel, a complete flight log, and summaries of obscure  demonstrator and spin-off projects that used the Hurricane, Kingcobra and Meteor aircraft for laminar flow research.

World X-Planes Magazine
World X-Planes No.1
Edited and managed
by Henry Matthews

Out of Stock      $20     48 pages
Contents of Issue No. 1
NASA F-8 Supercritical Wing; Leduc's Ramjets (Prototypes 010 and 016); Bell X-2 46-675: Exclusive chronology; Handley Page HP.88 (crescent wing); Northrop YB-49 (by Bob Cardenas); Dassault Balzac V (VTOL); BAC.221 (mini Concorde); Convair XF-92A Dart: (the dynasty of USAF delta fighters began here); Profile of NASA test pilot Joe Walker.

This is the first magazine that chronicles the history and development of the exotic X-planes that have advanced aviation through incredible speed, unique designs, and journeys to the edge of space.

World X-Planes No.2
Edited and managed
by Henry Matthews

Available    $20     48 pages
Contents of Issue No. 2
NASA AD-1 Oblique Wing (scissors wing which pivoted about the fuselage); DH.110 crash at Farnborough (tragedy at the SBAC show of 1952); Leduc Ramjets (prototypes 016 and 021); The Breaking of the Sound Barrier (Bell X-1); Fairey Gyrodyne and Jet Gyrodyne (compound vehicles, combining helicopter and fixed wing aircraft); Pika and Jindivik (Australian X-plane success story); Profile of Soviet Shuttle Test Pilot Igor Volk.

World X-Planes No.3
Edited and managed
by Henry Matthews

Available    $20     48 pages
Contents of Issue No. 3
Lockheed XV-4 Hummingbird; BAe EAP; Leduc's Ramjets (Part 3); Soviet Shuttle Program; Scott Crossfield;
Alvin White; XB-70A Program After the Accident; Bruce Peterson; The Rotodyne; Rotodyne Flight Log;
Test pilot Bill Wheatley   .

World X-Planes
Special Release #1
Edited and managed
by Henry Matthews

Available    $5     12 pages
Contents of Special Release No. 1
This beautiful color booklet features unpublished pictures of the FD-2 and BAC.221 in full color, with a program summary, and a foreword by test pilot Clive Rustin.
This booklet is sent freely with every order of X-Planes Book-6: The Speed Saga: FD-2 and BAC.221



For orders, contact Henry Matthews: