The First U.S. Jet
undated USAAF photo, by G. Winkler

The Bell XP-59A, the very first U.S.-made jet aircraft, is shown at Muroc Dry Lake (later Edwards AFB). The XP-59A was ordered to be built in complete secrecy by General Hap Arnold in 1941, before the start of WW II. The first operational model, shown here, was completed in 1942 (the first test flight was in October 1942). The nose cowling has been removed and technicians and engineers are working on the plane. Note the early transitional insignia on the fuselage, the lack of a tail number, and the canvas engine shrouds used to hide the engines draped on the fuselage and wings. An alternate view of the plane is here.

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