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The 50th anniversary of the first manned flight faster than the speed of sound will be celebrated here next month by some of those who made it possible.

Former Bell engineers and local aviation buffs are planning an Oct. 17 program and dinner to commemorate the Bell X-1's historic flight through the sound barrier in 1947. Sponsors include the Aero Club of Buffalo, the oldest aviation club in America and second-oldest in the world.

Louis Rotundo, author of "Into the Unknown," will be the featured speaker at the 7 p.m. banquet in Samuel's Grande Manor, 8750 Main St., Clarence.

Developed and built at Bell's plant here, the X-1 was the rocket plane that Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager flew through the sound barrier at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Also planned for the program are a 56-page commemorative booklet and an X-1 poster, both available separately.

Following the release of a commemorative X-1 stamp during ceremonies at the California test site, the U.S. Postal Service also will set up a Second Day Edition Station at the banquet. Stamps will be affixed to a cachet envelope designed by retired Bell illustrator John Carr, and will receive a unique postmark cancellation.

Also sponsoring the event are the L.D. Bell Chapter of the Air Force Association, the Bell News Association, and the Amherst Museum. Reservations are $25, available until Oct. 10 through the Aero Club, care of 21 Oakwood Drive, Cheektowaga, N.Y. 14227.

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