Are there or is it possible at all to create a supersonic aircraft with strictly mechanical (human powered without boosters) controls?

I know there was an attempt: Bede BD-10 but it never reached supersonic speed.

Have there been successful planes/designs that implemented it?

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting question! Welcome to av.se! $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 10:19
  • $\begingroup$ @mins yes I mean no amplification like pneumatic, electric or hydraulic - just sheer muscle power. $\endgroup$
    – Artyom
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 11:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There are two kind of hydraulics, with and without power assistance. For instance, hydraulic bicycle brake merely transmit human power, just like a lever and without power boost. $\endgroup$
    – bogl
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 14:17

1 Answer 1


There's one I can think of immediately, and that's the granddaddy of them all, the X-1. The X-1's control system was unassisted and it had no hydraulic system. The only part of the control system that was assisted was the horizontal stabilizer, which was operated using high-pressure nitrogen gas.

I think most of the early supersonic test airplanes were mechanically operated .

  • $\begingroup$ Yes I thought of X-1 but it was a very marginal case... $\endgroup$
    – Artyom
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 11:52
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ You asked for a successful design @Artyom, I'd say breaking the sound barrier qualifies. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 13:08

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