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Flight airspeed record (1529 views - Transportation - Air Water Earth)

An air speed record is the highest airspeed attained by an aircraft of a particular class. The rules for all official aviation records are defined by Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), which also ratifies any claims. Speed records are divided into multiple classes with sub-divisions. There are three classes of aircraft: landplanes, seaplanes, and amphibians; then within these classes, there are records for aircraft in a number of weight categories. There are still further sub-divisions for piston-engined, turbojet, turboprop, and rocket-engined aircraft. Within each of these groups, records are defined for speed over a straight course and for closed circuits of various sizes carrying various payloads.
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Flight airspeed record

Flight airspeed record

Flight airspeed record

An air speed record is the highest airspeed attained by an aircraft of a particular class. The rules for all official aviation records are defined by Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI),[1] which also ratifies any claims. Speed records are divided into multiple classes with sub-divisions. There are three classes of aircraft: landplanes, seaplanes, and amphibians; then within these classes, there are records for aircraft in a number of weight categories. There are still further sub-divisions for piston-engined, turbojet, turboprop, and rocket-engined aircraft. Within each of these groups, records are defined for speed over a straight course and for closed circuits of various sizes carrying various payloads.

Timeline

Flight speed records over time, taken from the table below.

Records in "gray" font color are unofficial, including unconfirmed or unpublicized (wartime) secrets.

Date Pilot Airspeed Location Notes
mph km/h Aircraft
17 December 1903 Wilbur Wright 6.82 10.98 Wright Flyer Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, USA This figure is groundspeed, not airspeed. The Wrights' first flight covered 852 feet and lasted 59 seconds but launched into a steady on-shore wind. Actual airspeed was not recorded but was likely in the 35 mph / 60 kph range.
5 October 1905 Wilbur Wright 37.85 60.23 Wright Flyer III Huffman Prairie, Ohio, USA
12 November 1906 Alberto Santos-Dumont 25.65 41.292 Santos-Dumont 14-bis Bagatelle Castle, Paris, France First officially recognized airspeed record.[2][3]:7
26 October 1907 Henry Farman 32.73 52.700 Voisin-Farman I Issy-les-Moulineaux, France [2][3]:9
25 May 1909 Paul Tissandier 34.04 54.810 Wright Model A Pau, France [2][3]:11
23 August 1909 Glenn Curtiss 44.367 69.821 Curtiss No. 2 Reims, France 1909 Gordon Bennett Cup.[2][4]:37–38
24 August 1909 Louis Blériot 46.160 74.318 Blériot XI Reims, France [2][3]:13
28 August 1909 Louis Blériot 47.823 76.995 Blériot XI Reims, France [2][3]:13
23 April 1910 Hubert Latham 48.186 77.579 Antoinette VII Nice, France [2][3]:18
10 July 1910 Léon Morane 66.154 106.508 Blériot Reims, France [2][3]:13
29 October 1910 Alfred Leblanc 68.171 109.756 Blériot XI New York, New York, USA [2][3]:13
12 April 1911 Alfred Leblanc 69.442 111.801 Blériot Blériot Pau, France [2][3]:14
11 May 1911 Édouard Nieuport 73.385 119.760 Nieuport IIN Châlons, France [2][3]:25
12 June 1911 Alfred Leblanc 77.640 125.000 Blériot [2]
16 June 1911 Édouard Nieuport 80.781 130.057 Nieuport IIN Châlons, France [2][3]:25
21 June 1911 Édouard Nieuport 82.693 133.136 Nieuport IIN Châlons, France [2][3]:25
13 January 1912 Jules Védrines 87.68 145.161 Deperdussin Monocoque (1912) Pau, France [2][3]:27
22 February 1912 Jules Védrines 100.18 161.290 Deperdussin monoplane Pau, France [2][3]:27
29 February 1912 Jules Védrines 100.90 162.454 Deperdussin Monocoque Pau, France [2][3]:27
1 March 1912 Jules Védrines 103.62 166.821 Deperdussin Monocoque Pau, France [2][3]:27
2 March 1912 Jules Védrines 104.29 167.910 Deperdussin Monocoque Pau, France [2][3]:27
13 July 1912 Jules Védrines 106.07 170.777 Deperdussin Monocoque Reims, France [2][3]:27
9 September 1912 Jules Védrines 108.14 174.100 Kanav Wason (1912) Chicago, Illinois, USA [2][3]:27
17 June 1913 Maurice Prévost 111.69 179.820 Deperdussin Monocoque (1913) Reims, France [2][3]:31
27 September 1913 Maurice Prévost 119.19 191.897 Deperdussin Monocoque (1913) Reims, France [2][3]:31
29 September 1913 Maurice Prévost 126.61 203.850 Deperdussin Monocoque (1913) Reims, France [2][3]:31
1914 Norman Spratt 134.5 216.5 Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.4 Unofficial
August 1918 Roland Rohlfs 163 262.3 Curtiss Wasp Not officially recognised.[4]:140
1919 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe 191.1 307.5 Nieuport-Delage NiD 29V Not officially recognised.
7 February 1920 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe 171.0 275.264 Nieuport-Delage NiD 29V Villacoublay, France. [5] First official record post World War 1.[2][3]:33
28 February 1920 Jean Casale 176.1 283.464 Spad-Herbemont 20 bis Villacoublay, France [2][3]:37[6]
9 October 1920 Bernard de Romanet 181.8 292.682 Spad-Herbemont 20 bis Buc, France [2][3]:37[7]
10 October 1920 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe 184.3 296.694 Nieuport-Delage NiD 29V Buc, France [2][3]:33
20 October 1920 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe 187.9 302.529 Nieuport-Delage NiD 29V Villacoublay, France [2][3]:33
4 November 1920 Bernard de Romanet 191.9 309.012 SPAD S.XX Buc, France [2][8]
12 December 1920 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe 194.4 313.043 Nieuport-Delage NiD 29V Villacoublay, France [2][3]:33
26 September 1921 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe 205.2 330.275 Nieuport-Delage Sesquiplan Ville Sauvage, France [3]:39[9]
13 October 1922 Billy Mitchell 222.88 358.836 Curtiss R Detroit, Michigan, USA [2][10]
18 October 1922 Billy Mitchell 224.28 360.93 Curtiss R-6 Selfridge Field, Detroit, Michigan, USA [3]:41[4]:232–3[11]
15 February 1923 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe 232.91 375.00 Nieuport-Delage NiD 42S Istres, France [10]
29 March 1923 1st Lt. Russell L. Maughan 236.587 380.74 Curtiss R-6 Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, USA [3]:41[4]:233[12]
2 November 1923 Lt. Harold J. Brow 259.16 417.07 Curtiss R2C-1 Mineola, New York, USA [3]:43[4]:235
4 November 1923 Lt. Alford J. Williams 266.59 429.02 Curtiss R2C-1 Mineola, New York, USA [3]:43[4]:235[13]
11 November 1924 Florentin Bonnet 278.37 448.171 Bernard-Ferbois V.2 [2]
4 November 1927 Mario de Bernardi 297.70 479.290 Macchi M.52 seaplane Venice, Italy Database ID 11828 [1][2]
30 March 1928 Mario de Bernardi 318.620 512.776 Macchi M.52bis seaplane Venice, Italy Database ID 11827 [1][14]
August 1929 Giuseppe Motta 362.0 582.6 Macchi M.67 seaplane Unofficial
10 September 1929 George H. Stainforth 336.3 541.4 Gloster VI seaplane Calshot, UK Database ID 11829[1][15]
12 September 1929 Augustus Orlebar 357.7 575.5 Supermarine S.6 seaplane Calshot, UK Database ID 11830 [1][16]
13 September 1931 George H. Stainforth 407.5 655.8 Supermarine S.6B seaplane Lee-on-the-Solent, UK Database ID 11831 [1][17]
10 April 1933 Francesco Agello 423.6 682.078 Macchi M.C.72 seaplane Desenzano del Garda, Italy Database ID 11836 [1][2]
23 October 1934 Francesco Agello 440.5 709.209 Macchi M.C.72 seaplane Desenzano del Garda, Italy Database ID 4497, current piston-engined seaplane speed record.[1][2]
13 September 1935 Howard Hughes 354.4 567.12 Hughes H-1 Racer landplane Santa Ana, CA (USA) FAI Database ID 8748 [18]
11 November 1937 Dr.Hermann Wurster 379.63 610.95 Bf 109 V13 landplane Augsburg, Germany FAI Database ID 8747 [19]
30 March 1939 Hans Dieterle 466.6 746.60 He 100 V8 Oranienburg (Germany) FAI Database ID 8744 [20]
26 April 1939 Fritz Wendel 469.220 755.138 Me 209 V1 Augsburg, Germany Piston-engined record until 1969 [21]
2 October 1941 Heini Dittmar 623.65 1003.67 Messerschmitt Me 163A V4 Peenemünde-West, Germany Rocket powered – World War II secret, not an Official FAI record but over the 3 km FAI distance[22]:122[23][24]
1944 Heinz Herlitzius 624 1004 Messerschmitt Me 262 S2 Leipheim, Germany World War II secret, not an Official FAI record [22]:122
6 July 1944 Heini Dittmar 702 1130 Messerschmitt Me 163B V18 Lagerlechfeld, Germany Rocket powered – World War II secret, not an Official FAI record [22]:122
7 November 1945 H. J. Wilson 606.4 975.9 Gloster Meteor F Mk 4 Herne Bay, UK EE455 Britannia, first official record post World War II.[3]:107[25]
7 September 1946 Edward Mortlock Donaldson 615.78 990.79 Gloster Meteor F Mk 4 Littlehampton, UK [25] EE530, a long-span Mk 4.[3]:107
19 June 1947 Col. Albert Boyd 623.74 1003.60 Lockheed P-80R Shooting Star Muroc, California, US [26]
20 August 1947 Cmdr. Turner Caldwell 640.663 1031.049 Douglas Skystreak Muroc, California, US First record flight to exceed secret October 1941 Me 163A V4 figure[27]
25 August 1947 Major Marion Eugene Carl USMC 650.796 1047.356 Douglas Skystreak Muroc, California, US [27]
14 October 1947 Chuck Yeager 670.0 1078 Bell X-1 (flight #50) Muroc, California, US Rocket powered – Cold War secret, not an official FAI C-1 record
6 November 1947 Chuck Yeager 891.0 1434 Bell X-1 (flight #58) Muroc, California, US Rocket powered – Cold War secret, not an official FAI C-1 record, first record to exceed secret July 1944 Me 163B V18 figure
15 September 1948 Maj. Richard L. Johnson, USAF 670.84 1079.6 North American F-86A-3 Sabre Cleveland, US [2][28]
18 November 1952 J. Slade Nash 698.505 1,124.13 North American F-86D Sabre Salton Sea, US [29]
16 July 1953 William Barnes 715.745 1,151.88 North American F-86D Sabre Salton Sea, US [30]
7 September 1953 Neville Duke 727.6 1,171 Hawker Hunter Mk.3 Littlehampton, UK [31]
26 September 1953 Mike Lithgow 735.7 1,184 Supermarine Swift F4 Castel Idris, Tripoli, Libya [32]
3 October 1953 James B. Verdin, US Navy 752.9 1,211.5 Douglas F4D Skyray Salton Sea, US [33]
29 October 1953 Frank K. Everest USAF 755.1 1,215.3 North American F-100 Super Sabre Salton Sea, US
20 August 1955 Horace A. Hanes 822.1 1,323 North American F-100C Super Sabre Palmdale, US
10 March 1956 Peter Twiss 1,132 1,822 Fairey Delta 2 Chichester, UK [34]
12 December 1957 USAF 1,207.6 1,943.5 McDonnell F-101A Voodoo Edwards Air Force Base, US [35]
18 May 1958 Capt. WW Irwin, USAF 1,404 2,259.5 Lockheed YF-104A Starfighter Edwards Air Force Base, US [3]:147
14 Sept 1958 Test Pilot Janusz Żurakowski 1,450.1 2,333.8 CF-105 Avro Arrow Malton, ON, Canada [36]:116
31 October 1959 Col. Georgi Mosolov 1,484 2,388 Ye-6/3, a.k.a. Ye-66 (Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21) USSR [37]
15 December 1959 Maj. Joseph Rogers, USAF 1,525.9 2,455.7 Convair F-106 Delta Dart Edwards Air Force Base, US The record should have gone to Charles Myers, who flew a Delta Dart at 1544 mph in 1959, but Cold War pressures dictated that the award should go to a military pilot.[38][39][40]
22 November 1961 Robert B. Robinson, US Navy 1,606.3 2,585.1 McDonnell-Douglas F4H-1F Phantom II Edwards Air Force Base, US [3]:165[41]
7 July 1962 Col. Georgi Mosolov 1,665.9 2,681 Mikoyan Gurevich Ye-166 – name adopted for the record attempt, originally a version of a Ye-152 USSR [42][43] a.k.a. E-166.[3]:179
12 January 1966 Alvin S. White and Carl Cross 2,020 3,250 North American XB-70 Edwards AFB, US [44]
1 May 1965 Robert L. Stephens
and Daniel Andre
2,070.1 3,331.5 Lockheed YF-12A Edwards AFB, US [45]
28 July 1976 then-Capt. Eldon W. Joersz (P) and
then-Maj. George T. Morgan Jr. (RSO)
2,193.2 3,529.6 Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird #61-7958 Beale AFB, US [46]

Official records versus unofficial

The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird holds the official Air Speed Record for a manned airbreathing jet aircraft with a speed of 3,530 km/h (2,193 mph). It was capable of taking off and landing unassisted on conventional runways. The record was set on 28 July 1976 by Eldon W. Joersz and George T. Morgan Jr. near Beale Air Force Base, California, USA.[47] SR-71 pilot Brian Shul reported in The Untouchables that he flew in excess of Mach 3.5 on 15 April 1986, over Libya, in order to avoid a missile.[48]

Although the official record for fastest piston-engined aeroplane in level flight is held by a Grumman F8F Bearcat, the Rare Bear, with a speed of 528.31 mph (850.24 km/h), the unofficial record for fastest piston-engined aeroplane in level flight is held by a British Hawker Sea Fury at 547 mph (880 km/h). Whereas these were both demilitarised, modified fighters, the fastest piston-engined aeroplane in stock (original, factory-built) condition was the German Dornier Do 335 Pfeil, with a maximum speed of 474 mph (765 km/h) in level flight. The unofficial record for fastest piston-engined aeroplane (not in level flight) is held by a Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIX, which was calculated to have achieved a speed of 690 mph (1,110 km/h, Mach 0.96) in a dive on 5 February 1952.

The last new speed record ratified before the outbreak of World War II was set on 26 April 1939 with a Me 209 V1, at 755 km/h (469 mph). The chaos, and secrecy, of World War II meant that new speed breakthroughs were not publicized nor ratified. In October 1941, an unofficial speed record of 1004 km/h (624 mph) was secretly set by a Messerschmitt Me 163 AV4 rocket aircraft. Continued research during the war extended the secret, unofficial speed record to 1130 km/h (702 mph) by July 1944, achieved by a Messerschmitt Me 163B V18. The first new official record in the post-war period was achieved by a Gloster Meteor in November 1945, at 976 km/h (606 mph). The first aircraft to exceed the unofficial October 1941 record of the Me 163 AV4 was the Douglas Skystreak, which achieved 1031 km/h (641 mph) in August 1947. The July 1944 unofficial record of the Me 163B V18 was officially surpassed in November 1947, when Chuck Yeager flew the Bell X-1 to 891 mph (1434 km/h).

The official speed record for a seaplane moved by piston engine - still valid today - is 709.209 km/h, from the seaplane ("idrocorsa") Macchi-Castoldi M.C.72, attained on 23 October 1934, by Francesco Agello.[49] It was equipped with the Fiat AS.6 engine (version 1934) developing a power of 3100 hp at 3300 rpm, with coaxial counter-rotating propellers. The original Macchi-Castoldi MC72 MM.181 seaplane that holds the record is kept in the Air Force Museum at Vigna di Valle in Italy.

Other air speed records

Year Pilot Airspeed Aircraft Comments
mph km/h
2 October 1985 Holger Rochelt 27.54 44.32 Musculair 2 Fastest human-powered aircraft[50]
12 June 2009 Robin Shrestha 155 250 SkySpark Fastest electric only aircraft[51][52]
22 December 2006 Klaus Ohlmann & Matias Garcia Mazzaro 190.6 306.8 Schempp-Hirth Nimbus-4DM Fastest glider (sailplane) over 500 km[53]
11 August 1986 Trevor Egginton 249 400.87 Westland Lynx Fastest helicopter[54][55][56]
31 December 1988 L.P. Krantov 258.8 415 Tupolev Tu-134A Fastest landing speed record for a civil aircraft [57]
11 June 2013 Hervé Jammayrac 293 472 Eurocopter X3 Fastest propeller compound helicopter[58]
15 September 2010 Kevin Bredenbeck 299 481 Sikorsky X2 Fastest compound helicopter, shallow dive (unofficial)[59]
19 March 1989 Unknown pilot 316 509 Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey [60][61] Tiltrotor
15 April 1969 Unknown pilot 316 509 Bell 533 Compound jet helicopter[62][63]
2 Sep 2017 Steve Hinton Jr. 531.53 855.41 P-51 "Voodoo" Fastest straight-line piston-engined aircraft in level flight[64][65]
24 March 1960 Ivan Sukhomlin, B. Timochuk & 4 crew 541.45 871.38 Tupolev Tu-114 Four-engined Turboprop powered Soviet airliner, fastest-ever record speed for a propeller-driven aircraft of any type.[66][67]
5 February 1952 Flight Lieutenant Edward Powles 690 1,110.447 Supermarine Spitfire PR.XIX PS852 Reached (Mach 0.96) during an emergency dive while carrying out spying flights over China, the highest speed ever recorded for a piston-engined aircraft (though not in level flight).[68]
14 October 2012 Felix Baumgartner 844 1358 None Fastest unpowered descent of a human[69][70]
3 October 1967 William 'Pete' Knight 4,519 7,274 North American X-15 Rocket plane; incapable of breathing air[71]
16 November 2004 Unmanned 7,546 12,144 NASA X-43A Air-launched hypersonic scramjet; fastest free-flying air breathing vehicle.
22 April 2010 Unmanned 13,201 21,245 HTV-2 Falcon Air-launched hypersonic glider; fastest unmanned aerial vehicle[72]
14 November 1981 Joe H. Engle 17,500 28,000 Space Shuttle Columbia Fastest manually controlled flight in atmosphere during atmospheric reentry of STS-2 mission.

Flying between any two airports allow a large number of combinations, so setting a speed record ("speed over a recognised course") is fairly easy with an ordinary aircraft; but it does require some paperwork.[73][74][75]

See also


AirbusAircraftAircraft flight control systemAirframeAirplaneBoeing 737Boeing 737 Next GenerationBoeing 787 DreamlinerBoeing B-29 SuperfortressBoeing CH-47 ChinookBoeing Insitu ScanEagleCessna O-2 SkymasterCessna SkymasterEurocopter EC725Eurofighter TyphoonFighter aircraftFighter-bomberGeneral Dynamics F-16 Fighting FalconGrumman F6F HellcatHawker FuryHawker HurricaneHelicopterJet aircraftJet engineLockheed Martin F-22 RaptorLockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IILockheed SR-71 BlackbirdMcDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom IIMcDonnell Douglas MD-80Model aircraftMultirole combat aircraftRadio-controlled aircraftReconnaissance aircraftSupersonic aircraftTwin-boom aircraftTwinjetUnion Pacific Big BoyUnited States Air Force ThunderbirdsAirspeedTransonicSpeed of soundMcDonnell XF-85 Goblinde Havilland MosquitoNight fighterBoeing F/A-18E/F Super HornetCarrier-based aircraftAttack aircraftAfterburnerMikoyan MiG-27Sukhoi Su-27Air superiority fighterSupermaneuverabilityGloster MeteorNorth American P-51 MustangNorth American P-51 Mustang variantsAir racingMesserschmitt Bf 109MonocoqueAircraft canopyDassault Mirage F1McDonnell Douglas T-45 GoshawkMcDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier IIDassault Mirage 2000Eurocopter TigerAttack helicopterAirbus HelicoptersBalloon (aeronautics)AirshipGeneral Dynamics F-111 AardvarkInterdictorStrategic bomberElectronic-warfare aircraftMilitary tacticsGeneral Atomics MQ-1 PredatorAGM-114 HellfireMissileBoeing AH-64 ApacheArmed helicopterAircraft ordnanceFlightAviationLandingTakeoffRunwayAirportGliding

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