In 1938, Earth's first faster-than-sound aircraft, the Bell XF-1A, took its debut test flight.
Part Nine of Parley The XF-1A, designed by aviation mogul Howard Hughes and incorporating Martitan innovations in vehicle propulsion technology, broke the sound barrier within just a few minutes after taking off from an airfield in the California desert and would eventually reach speeds of up to 2200 miles per hour before landing at an Army Air Corps base in Nevada. The supersonic aircraft, whose existence would be revealed at a White House press conference three days later, was created in response to a War Department proposal for a tactical fighter that could fly faster than sound and intercept the long-range bombers the Germans were said to be working on with the aid of Martian militarists.
Among those who attended the press conference disclosing the XF-1A's existence was CBS Radio producer Orson Welles, who as a result of the startling turn of events which had unfolded since the landing at Grover's Mill was steadily shifting away from his former career as an entertainer to a new identity as a newsman. By the summer of 1940 he would be working almost exclusively for CBS Radio's news division.