This week, Gene and Jeff set out to uncover the REACTION MOTORS – AREA R – TEST SITE located in New Jersey.
Reaction Motors, Inc., was one of the first companies to build liquid-propellant rocket engines in America. The rocket propulsion system was a four-chamber engine. On 16 March 1945, the United States Army Air Forces’ Flight Test Division and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) (now NASA) contracted Bell Aircraft to build three XS-1 (for “Experimental, Supersonic”, later X-1) aircraft to obtain flight data on conditions in the transonic speed range. WARNING: WE DO NOT ENCOURAGE OR PROMOTE ANY TRESPASSING AND/OR DEFACING PRIVATE PROPERTY!!! THIS VIDEO WAS MADE WITHOUT ANY DAMAGE TO THE PROPERTY IT WAS MADE ON!
Since we made this video we received the below information from Ken Montanye. Ken was a independent marketing consultant for Estes-Cox (www.estesrockets.com) for many years and designed six model rockets. Baby Bertha, Skywriter, Deluxe Super Shot Screw Machine, Coinveerter, Screamin MiMi, and 36 D Squared.
Reaction Motors first started in a garage of James Hart Wyld in Midvale NJ. James hart Wyld (1913-1953) was originally from Pompton Lakes NJ. They incorporated in Dec 1941, there are three different dates 10, 16, 18. They set up shop under their new business name on Wanaque Ave in Pompton Lakes, in the R & M Hardware buidling (still standing today). They also had a test stand in Franklin Lakes, NJ located at 936 Dogwood Trail, there use to be a block house there until about seven years ago, it was knocked down and the porperty is vacant. Here is were the JATO (Jet Assisted Take Off) motors were tested.
From there (1941) RMI moved to the sandpit in Pompton Plains NJ (now Rt 23 and West Parkway) there is a marker there at the place of their factory and test stand area. Here is where they developed and tested the XLR-11 Bell X-1 motors. They made so much noise, they were asked to leave and moved thier testing to the NARTS (Naval Air Rocekt Test Station ) within Picatinny (former Navy Depot)
RMI had their headquarter at Elm and Stickle in Rockaway with an office on Main St in Rockaway. They erected their main headquarters at 100 Ford Road in Denville, this building still stands today. There are two plaques mounted on stones in the front of the building.
Many test stnads were in Picatinny and only two remain today. Area “R” is where they tested the XLR-99 X-15 engines. This area is under the control of the EPA.
Remaining test sites are area “D” along Snake Den Road and Area “E” which still stands today and where many of the XLR- X-15 motors test were conducted.
Basically, the XLR-11 Bell X-1 motors were developed in Pompton Plains and they were used in the Chuck Yeager flight breaking the sound barrier on Oct 14, 1947.
You can find a XLR-99 engine on display at the NJ Aviation Museum at the Teterboro Airport in Teterboro.
Thanks for all this great information KEN!