X-13 – Revolutionary Flight Of The First VTOL Jet
Vertical take off has long been sought after in military aviation to reduce the need for long landing strips. Even today VTOL is a bit of a luxury feature included on jets such as the Harrier and the F-35B. A vertical takeoff for jets is very convenient but it had its humble origins in an experimental aircraft known as the Ryan X-13 Vertijet.
Introduced in the mid-1950s the X-13 Vertijet was the first attempt at vertical take off using a jet engine. The X-13 was launched from an upright platform using a powerful thrust vectoring engine to achieve lift. Once airborne the X-13 could align itself into a horizontal position and fly normally.
As with many aircraft with an “X” designation this jet remained experimental and never put into service. Lack operational requirement put an end to the X-13 Vertijet because there simply were not practical uses for it other than testing the ability to hover and take off. It is very interesting to see the birth of VTOL in this clip and seeing it blossom into the technology we have today.