Notes on a forum topic elsewhere on the web, images follow below.
forum topic first suggested that the derelict airframe in the photo
below might be a Bell X-2. Responders quickly identified it as a
Douglas D-558-2 Syrocket, following debate correctly noted that all
three Skyrockets are accounted for in 2 museums and 1 college.
My opinion is that the airframe in question probably is an engineering mockup of the Skyrocket. Here's why...
The first configuraton change
was from a flush canopy to a raised canopy. The #1 Sk;yrocket was built
in 1946 with a flush canopy, generally similar to that of the Bell
XS-1, later redesignated the X-1. The change to a raised canopy
occurred before the Skyrocket's first flight. The airframe in question
is missing its canopy, but it does not have the modification that added
a canopy fairing aft of the raised canopy.
- It shows characteristics of the Skyrocket both before and after two early configuration changes.
- It shows
a few access panels in places that make sense for engineering work on a
mockup. At a minimum, several of these were not present on the actual
aircraft. It's also possible that these access panels could have been
used on the combined jet/rocket configuration, before conversion of two
Skyrockets to rocket-only power.
stabilizer was originally short, with its top at the level shown in the
photo. After flight test experience identified stability problems an
extension was added to increase the area of the vertical stabilizer.
The photo shows a squared-off top on the vertical stabilizer, instead
of having the original gradual curve from the leading edge to the top
edge. This is consistent with the photographed airframe having been a
mockup that was used by Douglas engineering to check structural changes
needed to add on the stabilizer extension.
The subject airframe
shows a probable third change with room for some doubt because the
original photo has a large objuct obstructing view of part of the lower
forward fuselage. It looks as if this fuselage is in the rocket-only
configuration of the Skyrocket. That was a mid-program modification
that involved removing the jet engine and doing related internal
Photo 1 below superimposes the fuselage from the
forum-posted photo over a photo of the #2 Skyrocket. The past-over is
slightly cut off at the bottom where it was obscured by grass and
weeds. Both photos were shot by photographers standing opposite to
approximately the same point on the forward fuselage. Minor differences
in tail shape appear to be photographic, with the probable mockup
having been photograped with a lens of longer focal length than the one
used for the lakebed photo of #2. The tilted rectangle at the forward
fuselage of the probable mockup is a large obstruction in the photo's
Photo 2 is a copy of the #2/lakebed photo with contrast increased to more clearly show panel lines on the fuselage.
Photo 3 is an unedited copy of the #2/lakebed photo.