In the past, people used to just dream about inventing a machine that would be able to take them across oceans, continents, and even just over short distances. Suffice to say, the world has truly come a long way since the invention of the first flying machine.
Now, there are planes that not only can take people across oceans, but they can get it done going at supersonic speed (the speed which exceeds the speed of sound). Check out the ten fastest planes in the world, all of which break the speed of sound.
1. Falcon HTV-2
With a faster-than-sound speed of 13,000 miles per hour, Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 is currently the fastest jet in the world. The said aircraft was first launched on the 22nd of April 2010, and over a year later, on the 11th of August 2011, another flight was launched.
Designed for the purpose of responding to terrorist attacks in just a matter of a few minutes, the Falcon HTV-2 can get you from Sydney, Australia all over to London, England within an hour. Wondering what riding in it would feel like? Since the experimental Falcon HTV-2 is an unmanned aircraft, no human will ever have that experience, but one thing’s for sure – the experience would be mind-blowing!
Crafted by NASA, the X-43A Scramjet is considered as another of the world’s fastest jets. It is capable of reaching a maximum speed of more than 7,000 miles per hour, and like the first entry on this list, is faster than sound itself.
What’s even more remarkable about this unmanned aircraft is that it can achieve the top speed in just a little over 10 seconds. The X-43A encapsulates a totally new type of engine, which is called scramjet (supersonic-combustion-ramjet) for short. This engine doesn’t rely on oxygen, thus the aircraft is considerably lighter and smaller compared to other vehicles that have to have oxygen on board.
Boasting a top speed of 4, 520 miles per hour, the X-15 is surely one of the fastest airplanes in the world. Produced by North America, the X-15 was designed to be an aircraft that would almost convert pilots into astronauts. This is made possible by the ability of the plane to achieve and exceed the 50-mile height with no difficulties. Neil Armstrong, the world-renowned astronaut, used the X-15 prior to going to the moon.
With this kind of record, the X-15 could be the perfect vehicle to train people for space flight. You can bet a lot of people would line up just to be able to experience (or even just witness) what it would be like to be aboard the X-15.
4. SR-71 BlackBird
With the ability to reach a speed of 2,200 miles per hour, the SR-71 BlackBird remains one of the fastest jets in the world. Because it needed to be constructed of material that would be able to withstand as much as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the usual aluminum was set aside. Instead, this aircraft was developed and made with titanium by Lockheed Corporation. Serving its purpose for approximately 40 years, the BlackBird was finally allowed to retire in the year 1998. Too bad you won’t be able to see it in flight. That would have been an out-of-this-world sight!
5. MiG-25 Foxbat
Known for being the fastest jet fighter in this world, the MiG-25 Foxbat will wow you over with its maximum speed of more than 2,000 miles per hour. There were two types of the said aircraft. One was of the reconnaissance variety, which flew in the 1960s in response to the launching of the US B-70 bomber. The other was of the interceptor variety, which flew in the year 1972. Despite problems with maneuverability, the MiG-25 Foxbat was successfully able to dodge 10 Gulf War F-15 missiles.
6. Bell X-2 Starbuster
Although the X-2’s peak speed of 2,094 miles per hour is something to be proud of, this aircraft has a sad story to tell. At the time it was launched, the major concerns for aviation researchers were control, stability, and crossing the thermal barrier that came with approaching Mach 3.
In November 1955, Lt. Col. Frank K. “Pete” Everest took the X-2 for its maiden flight, and as he neared Mach 3, he stated that instability was severe. Captain Iven C. Kincheloe pushed the envelope when he took the very same aircraft and went beyond Mach 3. Unfortunately, that was the last flight he manned because the jet went out of control and crashed.
7. XB-70 Valkyrie
Created for the USAF by the North American Aviation’s LA division, the Valkyrie holds the title of being among the fastest airplanes in the world. It is able to reach a staggering speed of 2,056 miles per hour and is powered by 6 General Electric YJ93-GE-3 turbojet engines. The jet made its debut as a strategic bomber in the United States Air Force. Although it was retired early, the Valkyrie still captured the aviation world’s interest.
Unlike any other conventional aircraft, the Valkyrie had an air-intake control system that made adjusting and reducing supersonic force possible. Its air-intake duct, therefore, was capable of absorbing as much kinetic energy as needed to put a stop to 800 vehicles going at an astounding 100 miles per hour.
8. MiG-31 FoxHound
Created to replace the MiG-25 FoxBat, the MiG-31 FoxHound was developed by Russia in order to gain a more solid foothold on aircraft maneuverability. Russia’s efforts were aimed at improving maneuverability at speeds that will make the vehicle interceptor-worthy.
With a top speed of 1,860 miles per hour, this supersonic interceptor aircraft surely make it a formidable flying machine. Add to that an enormous and powerful twin-engine, four missiles hidden under the craft’s belly, and other excellent specs, and what you’ve got is a lethal flying weapon.
9. F-15 Eagle
Able to fly at a top speed of 1,660 miles per hour, this American fighter plane is truly a leader in the world of aerial combat. It has a lot of features that make it so. These features include an extremely useful radar system that detects and engages targets like no other. Another feature is a computer system that makes it possible for just one pilot to operate the craft.
It also has powerful engines that are capable of propelling this flying machine to reach its maximum speed. With such raw and amazing power packed into its frame, the F-15 Eagle is a plane you’ll surely not want to fight up in the sky.
10. General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark
Right behind the tail of the F-15 is the Aardvark, with a peak flying speed of 1,650 miles per hour. Retired by the USAF, the naval fighter and bomber Aardvark is still being utilized by the Royal Australian Air Force. Produced in the 1960s, this aircraft pioneered a number of technologies, including high-speed flight, automated terrain tracking radar, and other highly valuable features. Despite being the last on this list of the fastest jets in the world, the Aardvark deserves the thanks of all the aircrafts that benefited from technologies it pioneered.
It’s truly awe-inspiring how the human race has gone from dreaming of flying machines to producing aircrafts that can beat the speed of sound. Time will come when even light can’t beat the fastest airplanes in the world.