Ever since when I was young, I have always dreamt of flying the fastest plane in the world. In other words, becoming a pilot was one of my goals when I was an adolescent. These days, pilots fly different kinds of airplanes. Some pilots are for commercial flights while others fly war aircraft. However, none of these pilots are as lucky as those who have flown the world’s fastest airplane. So what is the fastest plane in the world?
As of now, the fastest plane in the world that a pilot can fly is the incredible North American X-15. This aircraft was built in the early years of 1960s. This was created in order to test the capability of men to handle flying into space. This plane, however, is not similar to other standard airplanes in terms of its take off. The X-15 is carried by a modified B-52 more than 40,000 feet in the air before detaching the X-15. Once the aircraft is released, its Reaction Motors XLR-99 engine (which is similar to a rocket engine) will begin ignite as the plane will shoot straight towards the edge of the stratosphere with the help of over 57 thousand pounds of airplane thrust. Pilots who have flown this amazing aircraft were even given astronaut wings by NASA because technically, they have already flown in outer space. Its highest altitude was recorded on the 22nd of August 1963 with a stunning 67 miles or approximately 108 km. Its top speed was then set by a pilot named Pete Knight last October 3, 1967. He flew the aircraft at an astonishing speed 4,519 miles per hour. This is equivalent to flying from New York to Los Angeles only within a time of 25 minutes. Because of this amazing feat, the X-15 bagged the title of the fastest manned plane in the world. However, some experts do not recognize the X-15 as the world’s fastest airplane because it uses a rocket engine which puts the X-15 in the “rocket” category.
Nevertheless, if we were to include aircrafts that are unmanned, then X-15 is no match to NASA’s X-43. This high-speed scramjet is similar to X-15s since it is also being carried 40,000 feet into the air by a B-52. When it was first launched on November 16, 2004, the said aircraft reached an astonishing Mach 9.6 or 7,000 miles per hour. This is almost twice as fast as the X-15s. Some even said that it was able to reach a Mach 9.8 making it the fastest flying unpiloted aircraft in the world.
If commercial planes were to be discussed, the fastest commercial plane ever flown is probably Russia’s Tupolev Tu-144. This plane, which is otherwise called as Concordski, has reached a speed of Mach 2.35 or 1,550 miles per hour. At this rate, it is already considered a fast plane for commercial flights. The Tu-144, however, was pulled out due to technical and safety reasons. Because of this, the Concorde plane took its title with a speed of Mach 2.02 or 1,330 miles per hour. This is almost thrice as fast as the standard Boeing 747 with a speed rate of only 550 miles per hour.