Flight airspeed record

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The SR-71 Blackbird is the current record-holder for a manned airbreathing jet aircraft.

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[edit]

Date Pilot Airspeed Aircraft Location Notes
mph km/h
17 December 1903 Wilbur Wright 6.82 10.98 Wright Flyer Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, USA
1905 Wilbur Wright 37.85 60.23 Wright Flyer III
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]
26 October 1907 Henry Farman 32.73 52.700 Voisin-Farman I Issy-les-Moulineaux, France [2] [4]
25 May 1909 Paul Tissandier 34.04 54.810 Wright Model A Pau, France [2] [5]
23 August 1909 Glenn Curtiss 43.367 69.821 Curtiss No. 2 Reims, France 1909 Gordon Bennett Cup. [2] [6]
24 August 1909 Louis Blériot 46.160 74.318 Blériot XI Reims, France [2] [7]
28 August 1909 Louis Blériot 47.823 76.995 Blériot XI Reims, France [2] [7]
23 April 1910 Hubert Latham 48.186 77.579 Antoinette VII Nice, France [2] [8]
10 July 1910 Léon Morane 66.154 106.508 Blériot Reims, France [2] [7]
29 October 1910 Alfred Leblanc 68.171 109.756 Blériot XI New York, New York, USA [2] [7]
12 April 1911 Alfred Leblanc 69.442 111.801 Blériot Blériot Pau, France [2] [9]
11 May 1911 Édouard Nieuport 73.385 119.760 Nieuport IIN Châlons, France [2] [10]
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] [10]
21 June 1911 Édouard Nieuport 82.693 133.136 Nieuport IIN Châlons, France [2] [10]
13 January 1912 Jules Védrines 87.68 145.161 Deperdussin Monocoque (1912) Pau, France [2] [11]
22 February 1912 Jules Védrines 100.18 161.290 Deperdussin monoplane Pau, France [2] [11]
29 February 1912 Jules Védrines 100.90 162.454 Deperdussin Monocoque Pau, France [2] [11]
1 March 1912 Jules Védrines 103.62 166.821 Deperdussin Monocoque Pau, France [2] [11]
2 March 1912 Jules Védrines 104.29 167.910 Deperdussin Monocoque Pau, France [2] [11]
13 July 1912 Jules Védrines 106.07 170.777 Deperdussin Monocoque Reims, France [2] [11]
9 September 1912 Jules Védrines 108.14 174.100 Deperdussin Monocoque (1912) Chicago, Illinois, USA [2] [11]
17 June 1913 Maurice Prévost 111.69 179.820 Deperdussin Monocoque (1913) Reims, France [2] [12]
27 September 1913 Maurice Prévost 119.19 191.897 Deperdussin Monocoque (1913) Reims, France [2] [12]
29 September 1913 Maurice Prévost 126.61 203.850 Deperdussin Monocoque (1913) Reims, France [2] [12]
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.[13]
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. [14] First official record post World War 1. [2] [15]
28 February 1920 Jean Casale 176.1 283.464 Spad-Herbemont 20 bis Villacoublay, France [2] [16] [17]
9 October 1920 Bernard de Romanet 181.8 292.682 Spad-Herbemont 20 bis Buc, France [2] [18] [17]
10 October 1920 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe 184.3 296.694 Nieuport-Delage NiD 29V Buc, France [2] [15]
20 October 1920 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe 187.9 302.529 Nieuport-Delage NiD 29V Villacoublay, France [2] [15]
4 November 1920 Bernard de Romanet 191.9 309.012 SPAD S.XX Buc, France [2][19]
12 December 1920 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe 194.4 313.043 Nieuport-Delage NiD 29V Villacoublay, France [2] [15]
26 September 1921 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe 205.2 330.275 Nieuport-Delage Sesquiplane Ville Sauvage, France [20] [21]
13 October 1922 Billy Mitchell 222.88 358.836 Curtiss R Detroit, Michigan, USA [2] [22]
18 October 1922 Billy Mitchell 224.28 360.93 Curtiss R-6 Selfridge Field, Detroit, Michigan, USA [23] [24] [25]
15 February 1923 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe 232.91 375.00 Nieuport-Delage Istres [22]
29 March 1923 1st Lt. Russell L. Maughan 236.587 380.74 Curtiss R-6 Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, USA [26] [27] [25]
2 November 1923 Lt. Harold J. Brow 259.16 417.07 Curtiss R2C-1 Mineola, New York, USA [28] [29]
4 November 1923 Lt. Alford J. Williams 266.59 429.02 Curtiss R2C-1 Mineola, New York, USA [28][30] [29]
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 Database ID 11828 [1][2]
30 March 1928 Mario de Bernardi 318.620 512.776 Macchi M.52bis seaplane Venice Database ID 11827 [1][31]
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 Database ID 11829[1][32]
12 September 1929 Augustus Orlebar 357.7 575.5 Supermarine S.6 seaplane Calshot Database ID 11830 [1][33]
13 September 1931 George H. Stainforth 407.5 655.8 Supermarine S.6B seaplane Lee-on-the-Solent Database ID 11831 [1][34]
10 April 1933 Francesco Agello 423.6 682.078 Macchi M.C.72 seaplane Desenzano del Garda Database ID 11836 [1][2]
23 October 1934 Francesco Agello 440.5 709.209 Macchi M.C.72 seaplane Desenzano del Garda Database ID 4497 [1][2]
1935 Howard Hughes 352 566 Hughes H-1 Racer landplane Not an Official FAI record
26 April 1939 Fritz Wendel 469.220 755.138 Me 209 V1 Augsburg Piston-engined record until 1969[35]
1941 Heini Dittmar 623.65 1003.67 Messerschmitt Me 163A V4 Peenemünde Rocket powered – Not an Official FAI record but over the 3 km FAI distance[36] [37][38]
1944 Heinz Herlitzius 624 1004 Messerschmitt Me 262 S2 Leipheim Not an Official FAI record [39]
1944 Heini Dittmar 702 1130 Messerschmitt Me 163B V18 Lagerlechfeld Rocket powered – Not an Official FAI record [39]
7 November 1945 H. J. Wilson 606.4 975.9 Gloster Meteor F Mk 4 Herne Bay, UK EE455 Britannia, a Mk 3 converted on production line to a long-span Mk 4.[41]
7 September 1946 Edward Mortlock Donaldson 615.78 990.79 Gloster Meteor F Mk 4 Littlehampton, UK EE530, a long-span Mk 4.[41]
19 June 1947 Col. Albert Boyd 623.74 1003.60 Lockheed P-80R Shooting Star Muroc, California, US [42]
20 August 1947 Cmdr. Turner Caldwell 640.663 1031.049 Douglas Skystreak Muroc, California, US [43]
25 August 1947 Major Marion Eugene Carl USMC 650.796 1047.356 Douglas Skystreak Muroc, California, US [43]
14 October 1947 Chuck Yeager 670.0 1078 Bell X-1 Muroc, California, US Rocket powered – Not an official FAI C-1 record
15 September 1948 Maj. Richard L. Johnson, USAF 670.84 1079.6 North American F-86A-3 Sabre Cleveland, US [2] [44]
18 November 1952 J. Slade Nash 698.505 1,124.13 North American F-86D Sabre Salton Sea, US [45]
16 July 1953 William Barnes 715.745 1,151.88 North American F-86D Sabre Salton Sea, US [46]
7 September 1953 Neville Duke 727.6 1,171 Hawker Hunter Mk.3 Littlehampton, UK [47]
26 September 1953 Mike Lithgow 735.7 1,184 Supermarine Swift F4 Castel Idris, Tripoli, Libya [48]
3 October 1953 James B. Verdin, US Navy 752.9 1,211.5 Douglas F4D Skyray Salton Sea, US [49]
29 October 1953 Frank K. Everest USAF 755.1 1,215.3 North American F-100 Super Sabre Salton Sea, US
From this point records are set at altitude and not sea level.
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 [50]
12 December 1957 USAF 1,207.6 1,943.5 McDonnell F-101A Voodoo Edwards Air Force Base, US [51]
18 May 1958 Cap. WW Irwin, USAF 1,404 2,259.5 Lockheed YF-104A Starfighter Edwards Air Force Base, US [52]
31 October 1959 Col. Georgii Mosolov 1,484 2,388 Ye-66 (Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21) USSR [53]
15 December 1959 Maj. Joseph Rogers, USAF 1,525.9 2,455.7 Convair F-106 Delta Dart Edwards Air Force Base, US
22 November 1961 Robert G. Robinson, US Navy 1606.3 2585.1 McDonnell-Douglas F4H-1F Phantom II Edwards Air Force Base, US [54] [55]
7 July 1962 Lt. Col. Georgii Mosolov 1665.9 2681 Mikoyan Gurevich Ye-166 – name adopted for the record attempt, originally a version of a Ye-152 USSR [35] [56] a.k.a. E-166.[57]
1 May 1965 Robert L. Stephens
and Daniel Andre
2,070.1 3,331.5 Lockheed YF-12A Edwards AFB, US [58]
28 July 1976 Capt. Eldon W. Joersz and Maj. George T. Morgan 2,193.2 3,529.6 Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird #61-7958 Beale AFB, US [59]

Official records versus unofficial[edit]

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, US.[60]

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 a 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 IXX, 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.

For a period of time, during and immediately following World War II, the unpublicised and unofficial speed record of 1004.5 km/h (623.8 mph) set by the Messerschmitt Me 163AV4 (the third prototype) rocket aircraft, on 2 October 1941 was actually the fastest velocity any aircraft had been measured as traveling to that time. That figure, set during wartime when no records were being ratified, was achieved by the Me 163A V4 at altitude rather than sea-level as it had been towed by a Bf 110 to set the record. Many record attempts were stated as being "set" after World War II by such aircraft as the Gloster Meteor, which exceeded the 755 km/h (469 mph) velocity record of the pre-war holder (the Messerschmitt Me 209 V1 piston-engined aircraft) but the first to actually exceed the Me 163 A V4 claim was the Douglas Skystreak on 20 August 1947.

The fastest manned atmospheric vehicle of all time was the Apollo Command Module as it returned from the moon, reaching speeds of around Mach 30. Although it used the air largely as a brake, it did also achieve a lift to drag ratio of around 0.368[61] which was used to control the flight trajectory. However this is probably very different from most people's idea of an 'aircraft'.

Other air speed records[edit]

Year Pilot Airspeed Aircraft Comments
mph km/h
3 October 1967 William 'Pete' Knight 4,519 7,274 North American X-15 Rocket plane; incapable of breathing air[62]
April 1981 - July 2011 Multiple 17,500 28,000 Space Shuttle Speed attained during atmospheric reentry
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.
11 June 2013 Hervé Jammayrac 293 472 Eurocopter X3 Fastest compound helicopter[63]
31 December 1988 L.P. Krantov 258.8 415 Tupolev Tu-134A Fastest landing speed record (76 passengers aboard, no one harmed)[64]
21 August 1989 Lyle Shelton 528 850 F8F Bearcat Rare Bear Fastest straight-line piston-engined aircraft
22 April 2010 Unmanned 13,201 21,245 HTV-2 Falcon Air-launched hypersonic scramjet; fastest unmanned aerial vehicle[65]
16 November 2004 Unmanned 7,546 12,144 NASA X-43A Air-launched hypersonic scramjet
22 December 2006 Klaus Ohlmann & Matias Garcia Mazzaro 190.6 306.8 Schempp-Hirth Nimbus-4DM Fastest glider (sailplane) over 500 km[66]
15 September 2010 Kevin Bredenbeck 299 481 Sikorsky X2 Fastest compound helicopter, shallow dive (unofficial)[67]
12 June 2009 Robin Shrestha 155 250 SkySpark Fastest electric only aircraft[68][69]
14 October 2012 Felix Baumgartner 844 1358 None Fastest unpowered descent[70][71]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h FAI Web sie Accessed 25 January 2011
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak Cooper Flight 25 May 1951, p. 619.
  3. ^ Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 7. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  4. ^ Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 9. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  5. ^ Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 11. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  6. ^ Bowers 1979, pp. 37–38
  7. ^ a b c d Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 13. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  8. ^ Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 18. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  9. ^ Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 14. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  10. ^ a b c Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 25. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 27. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  12. ^ a b c Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 31. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  13. ^ Bowers 1979, p. 140.
  14. ^ The Royal Aero Club of the U.K.:Official Notices to Members". Flight, 16 December 1920. p. 1274.
  15. ^ a b c d Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 33. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  16. ^ "Speed Records in France". Flight, 4 March 1920.
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  18. ^ "Meeting at Buc". Flight, 14 October 1920, pp. 1090–1091.
  19. ^ "De Romanet Breaks Records". Flight, 11 November 1920, p. 1166.
  20. ^ "Some Records Homologated". Flight, 3 November 1921, p. 710.
  21. ^ Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 39. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  22. ^ a b Flight 7 February 1924, p. 75.
  23. ^ Bowers 1979, pp. 232–233.
  24. ^ "American World's Speed Record Homologated". Flight, 11 January 1923, p. 26.
  25. ^ a b Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 41. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  26. ^ Bowers 1979, p.233.
  27. ^ "Records Homologated". Flight, 28 June 1923, p. 356.
  28. ^ a b Bowers 1979, p. 235.
  29. ^ a b Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 43. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  30. ^ Flight. 27 December 1923, p.776.
  31. ^ Robertson, F.A. de V. "The Attempt on the World's Speed Record". Flight, 8 November 1928, pp. 965–967.
  32. ^ James 1971, p.188.
  33. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1987, p.194.
  34. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1987, p. 201.
  35. ^ a b Taylor 1965, p. 346.
  36. ^ Ferdinand C.W. Käsmann, Die schnellsten Jets der Welt p.122 ISBN 3-925505-26-1, 1994
  37. ^ Heini Dittmar
  38. ^ Wolfgang Späte, Der streng geheime Vogel Me 163 p.32,33 ISBN 3-89555-142-2, 1983
  39. ^ a b Ferdinand C.W. Käsmann Die schnellsten Jets der Welt p.122 ISBN 3-925505-26-1, 1994
  40. ^ a b Mason 1992, p. 340.
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  42. ^ Young, James O. (2007). "Milestones in Aerospace History at Edwards AFB" (PDF). Air Force Flight Test Center History Office. Retrieved 14 July 2008. 
  43. ^ a b Francillon 1979, p.438.
  44. ^ Jackson, Robert (1994). F-86 Sabre: The Operational Record. Smithsonian Institution Press. 
  45. ^ Allward 1978, p. 24.
  46. ^ Allward 1978, pp. 24–25.
  47. ^ Mason 1992, p. 370.
  48. ^ Mason 1992, p. 366.
  49. ^ Francillon 1979, p.476.
  50. ^ Taylor 1974, p. 432.
  51. ^ Francillon 1979, p. 544.
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  53. ^ Belyakov and Marmain 1994, pp. 298, 300.
  54. ^ Francillon 1979, p. 572.
  55. ^ Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 165. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  56. ^ Belyakov and Marmain 1994, pp. 274–275.
  57. ^ Munson, Kenneth (1978). Jane's Pocket Book of Record-breaking Aircraft (First Collier Books Edition 1981 ed.). New York, New York, USA: Macmillan. p. 179. ISBN 0-02-080630-2. 
  58. ^ Taylor 1976, p. 72.
  59. ^ Taylor 1988, p. [51].
  60. ^ "Current air speed record". Retrieved 18 October 2006. 
  61. ^ Hillje, Ernest R., "Entry Aerodynamics at Lunar Return Conditions Obtained from the Flight of Apollo 4 (AS-501)," NASA TN D-5399, (1969).
  62. ^ Fastest Plane in the World: X-15
  63. ^ Jason Paur. "X3 Helicopter Sets Speed Record At Nearly 300 MPH". Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  64. ^ Л.Л. Селяков. "Человек, среда, машина" Самолет Ту-134А №65011
  65. ^ Fastest unmanned aerial vehicle
  66. ^ "Open Class Gliders: Speed over an out-and-return course of 500 km" Accessed: 28 November 2013.
  67. ^ Croft, John (15 September 2010). "Sikorsky X2 hits 250kt goal". Flight International. Retrieved 16 September 2010. 
  68. ^ Grady, Mary (June 2009). "Italian Electric Airplane Reaches 155 MPH". Retrieved 18 June 2009. 
  69. ^ DigiSky Srl (June 2009). "250 km/h: 100% eco-friendly aircraft sets world record". Retrieved 18 June 2009. 
  70. ^ "Baumgartner’s Records Ratified by FAI !" Record FAI, 14 October 2012. Accessed: 18 November 2013.
  71. ^ "Governing Body 'FAI' Officially Confirms Red Bull Stratos World Records". Retrieved 3 December 2013. 

External links[edit]