- so aircraft experts,what is the fastest aircraft in the world today?
Still the Blackbird, officially at least…
Posted 5 years agofourcrossjohnMember
X-43 is the fastest airplane in the world. On 16 November 2004, the X-43 reached Mach 9.6 (7,000 miles or 11,265 kilometers per hour) according to NASA. The X-43 is an unmanned aircraft, which launches not from the ground but from a B-52 at about 40,000 feet (12.2 kilometers) in the air.
not maned though
Posted 5 years ago
I hadn’t heard about fuel leaks in the Blackbird, but it might well be true—–the U2 had a lot of issues around fuel leaking when sitting on the runway.Posted 5 years ago
Saw a Blackbird take off from a couple of miles away while working in Nevada years ago. That thing makes one hell of a noise on takeoff and gets speed and altitude very quickly.
Just makes you wonder why the Blackbird didn’t just fly itself to pieces considering the tolerance gaps necessary. Must have been a blast to be an engineer at the Skunkworks!!!
I have always heard great things about the Farnborough air show–bet there are a lot of really cool planes to watch.Posted 5 years agoracefaceec90Member
am currently watching firefox on itv4 8) i know that the blackbird has one of the all time speed records,but no doubt there are now faster aircraft.what do you reckon is the current record holder (manned/unmanned).p.s you cannot say the space shuttle 😉Posted 5 years ago
p.p.s here is a short video in remembrance to ernest borgnine r.i.p ernest 🙁 [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBd6ighzqYA[/video] airwolf was the best helicopter ever 🙂richmtbSubscriber
Yes the SR-71 leaked quite badly due to the thermal expansion tolerances. It wasn’t a major issue as the jet fuel they used was actually quite hard to light.
Truly amazing aircraft New York to London in under two hours!
The X-15 was another amazing aircraft. It was decades ahead of its time. It was basically a resuable space plane. Above 100,000 feet it used manouvering rockets instead of its control surfaces for control. If the US had pursued it’s development instead of the Mercury program they might have had the Space Shuttle in the 60’s. Check out the “Dynasoar” project to see where it might have gone.Posted 5 years ago
When I saw the Blackbird takeoff, I was working at the Nevada Test Site (of Area 51/Groom Lake fame)–I didn’t personally have security access to the actual areas, but drove near it quite a few times. Had friends who worked there who never talked about it much—-but made off-hand allusions to some very “unusual” aircraft flying out of there.Posted 5 years agoracefaceec90Member
am enjoying reading your replies (some great aircraft mentioned).speaking about helicopters,i happened to be near beckhampton roundabout (near to avebury).i suddenly saw an apache longbow fly towards me,then stop behind some trees (practicing hiding behind cover most likely).they are pretty awesome helis (and they make a great noise too 🙂Posted 5 years agoCountZeroMember
Can we allow this thread to develop into a Blackbird love in?
Im sure I read something somewhere about them leaking fuel when on runways due to the expansion tolerances.
Oh, absolutely; when they had one on the ground at the RAIT Fairford there were metal trays all around the underside of the plane to catch the drips, and you could actually watch fuel dripping from the plane. When they designed thePosted 5 years ago
SR-71 and the YF-12A interceptor, (the armed version), the Skunkworks engineers not only had to work out how to work the metal, they first of all had to design the tools to allow them to work it, and weld it, too. Nobody had ever used titanium before. This was in 1962/63, remember.
Fastest manned aircraft? Probably Aurora, although it obviously doesn’t exist. Like the F-117A didn’t exist for something like eighteen years until its existence was finally admitted.
The SR-71 wasn’t a military project; it was funded entirely by the CIA, and all the original pilots were spooks. Until the military threw a hissy fit and demanded a piece of the action!EwanMember
The SR-71 wasn’t a military project; it was funded entirely by the CIA, and all the original pilots were spooks. Until the military threw a hissy fit and demanded a piece of the action!
Read a book about Area 51/Groom Lake (can’t recall the title), but it went into quite a bit of detail about the friction between the CIA and the military around the area operations.Posted 5 years agoNorthwindSubscriber
PJM1974 – Member
I think that an English Electric Lightning is about to be made airworthy again in the ‘states, they’re pretty darned quick too.
“Only” mach 2… But first in the world to supercruise IIRC, and a ridiculously good climber. Also they look fab, and that’s good enough for me.Posted 5 years agostevomcdSubscriber
I remember reading something which said that the SR-71 was originally intended to launch reconaissance drones, then they realised there wasn’t much point as there was basically nowhere it couldn’t go. So fast it was virtually immune to missiles/tracking technology of the day.Posted 5 years agoCountZeroMember
read the skunk works book, and you will learn that the aurora was the f117.
Are you sure? The Skunkworks code name was ‘Have Blue’, and it’s internal nickname was ‘Hopeless Diamond’, because no-one thought it would work. I’ve read the Skunkworks book a couple of times, and I don’t recall Aurora being mentioned at all.Posted 5 years agocookeaaSubscriber
I remember reading something which said that the SR-71 was originally intended to launch reconaissance drones, then they realised there wasn’t much point as there was basically nowhere it couldn’t go. So fast it was virtually immune to missiles/tracking technology of the day.
That would be the M/D21 nice idea But didn’t the the second test flight result in an accident when the drone cliped it carrier on separation?
D21 wound up being launched from under a B52 in the end didn’t it…
Apparently the SR71 wasn’t Immune to tracking, although it implemented ‘Stealth’ technologies it was regularly tracked by both civil an military systems but yep the tactic was if a SAM was launched it just accelerated and out-ran it…
The Engines are pretty amazing, that adjustable aero spike intake was intended to slow air enough for the engines to actually ingest, otherwise it would just blow itself out, apparently it actually became more fuel efficient the faster it went…
apparently they has plenty of single engine flameouts at high thrust and the plane would yaw to one side at circa mach3, while the poor buggers on board tried to restart an engine… Scary
I still like the fact that LBJ announced the YF12 as a partial cover for the A12/SR71, a Mech 3 interceptor would have been a pretty scary prospect at the time, apparently it worked in testing but just cost a bit too much per unit…
And Predating GPS it even had a stellar navigation system, an up-looking system that tracked the position of several stars to give a positional fix, rather than rely on ground references from 90000 feet up in the dark… Genius IMO, apparently it was quite accurate too…Posted 5 years agoscuzzMember
p.s you cannot say the space shuttle
How about the X-37?
Bloody awesome, supporting the development of space based weapons, and generally performing awesome orbits for months and months on end.
The Engines are pretty amazing, that adjustable aero spike intake was intended to slow air enough for the engines to actually ingest, otherwise it would just blow itself out, apparently it actually became more fuel efficient the faster it went.
Don’t forget that it was a ramjet/turbojet hybrid – the cone adjusted the internal air flow path to avoid the axial compressor at high speed. Very very very cool.Posted 5 years agoMacgyverMember
yes, I recall the “vertical take off” references at airshows when the Lightning did its run. Some RAF chappy giving you the low down over the tannoy mentions that there’s more than one vertical take off jet in the force as right on cue the Lightning come barrelling down the run way at about 20 feet, stick goes back, afterburners go on and the ruddy thing goes up nigh on vertically like a rocket until all you could see was the glow from both engines somewhere way above you. Bloody brilliant stuff 😉Posted 5 years agoGee-JaySubscriber
Loved that skunk work book, lent it to my Dad who had been in the RAF through 60’s/70’s/80’s and into that sort of thing. He went and ordered 3 copies to hand out to spooky mates.
Also came across this while furtling around the web looking for SR71 info :-
” There were a lot of things we couldn’t do in an SR-71 Blackbird (The Air Force/NASA super fast, highest
flying reconnaissance jet, nicknamed, “The Sled”), but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved
reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to
fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane – intense, maybe,
even cerebral. But there was one day in our Sled experience when we would have to say that it was pure
fun to be the fastest guys out there, at least for a moment.
It occurred when Walt and I were flying our final training sortie. We needed 100 hours in the jet to
complete our training and attain Mission Ready status. Somewhere over Colorado we had passed the century
mark. We had made the turn in Arizona and the jet was performing flawlessly. My gauges were wired in the
front seat and we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves, not only because we would soon be
flying real missions but because we had gained a great deal of confidence in the plane in the past ten
months. Ripping across the barren deserts 80,000 feet below us, I could already see the coast of
California from the Arizona border. I was, finally, after many humbling months of simulators and study,
ahead of the jet. I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for Walter in the back seat.
There he was, with no really good view of the incredible sights before us, tasked with monitoring four
different radios. This was good practice for him for when we began flying real missions, when a priority
transmission from headquarters could be vital. It had been difficult, too, for me to relinquish control
of the radios, as during my entire flying career I had controlled my own transmissions. But it was part
of the division of duties in this plane and I had adjusted to it. I still insisted on talking on the
radio while we were on the ground, however. Walt was so good at many things, but he couldn’t match my
expertise at sounding smooth on the radios, a skill that had been honed sharply with years in fighter
squadrons where the slightest radio miscue was grounds for beheading. He understood that and allowed me
that luxury. Just to get a sense of what Walt had to contend with, I pulled the radio toggle switches and
monitored the frequencies along with him.
The predominant radio chatter was from Los Angeles Center, far below us, controlling daily traffic in
their sector. While they had us on their scope (albeit briefly), we were in uncontrolled airspace and
normally would not talk to them unless we needed to descend into their airspace. We listened as the shaky
voice of a lone Cessna pilot who asked Center for a read-out of his ground speed. Center replied:
“November Charlie 175, I’m showing you at ninety knots on the ground.”
Now the thing to understand about Center controllers was that whether they were talking to a rookie pilot
in a Cessna or to Air Force One, they always spoke in the exact same, calm, deep, professional tone that
made one feel important. I referred to it as the “Houston Center voice.” I have always felt that after
years of seeing documentaries on this country’s space program and listening to the calm and distinct
voice of the Houston controllers, that all other controllers since then wanted to sound like that and
that they basically did. And it didn’t matter what sector of the country we would be flying in, it always
seemed like the same guy was talking. Over the years that tone of voice had become somewhat of a
comforting sound to pilots everywhere. Conversely, over the years, pilots always wanted to ensure that,
when transmitting, they sounded like Chuck Yeager, or at least like John Wayne. Better to die than sound
bad on the radios. Just moments after the Cessna’s inquiry, a Twin Beech piped up on frequency, in a
rather superior tone, asking for his ground speed in Beech. “I have you at one hundred and twenty-five
knots of ground speed.”
Boy, I thought, the Beechcraft really must think he is dazzling his Cessna brethren. Then out of the
blue, a navy F-18 pilot out of NAS Lemoore came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Navy jock
because he sounded very cool on the radios. “Center, Dusty 52 ground speed check.” Before Center could
reply, I’m thinking to myself, hey, Dusty 52 has a ground speed indicator in that million-dollar cockpit,
so why is he asking Center for a read-out? Then I got it, ol’ Dusty here is making sure that every bug
smasher from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He’s the fastest dude in the valley
today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new Hornet. And the reply,
always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion: “Dusty 52, Center, we
have you at 620 on the ground.”
And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic
button, I had to remind myself that Walt was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done
– in mere seconds we’ll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Hornet must die, and
die now. I thought about all of our Sim training and how important it was that we developed well as a
crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked
toward becoming. I was torn. Somewhere, 13 miles above Arizona, there was a pilot screaming inside his
space helmet. Then, I heard it – the click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment
that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke: “Los
Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?” There was no hesitation, and the replay
came as if was an everyday request. “Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two
knots, across the ground.”
I think it was the forty-two knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver
that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling. But the precise point at which I
knew that Walt and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once
again to say, in his most fighter-pilot-like voice: “Ah, Center, much thanks, we’re showing closer to
nineteen hundred on the money.” For a moment Walter was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the
armor of the Houston Center voice, when L.A. came back with, “Roger that Aspen. Your equipment is
probably more accurate than ours. You boys have a good one.”
It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable sprint across the southwest, the Navy
had been flamed, all mortal airplanes on freq were forced to bow before the King of Speed, and more
importantly, Walter and I had crossed the threshold of being a crew. A fine day’s work. We never heard
another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast. For just one day, it truly was fun being
the fastest guys out there.”Posted 5 years agopslingSubscriber
Can’t believe that no-one’s mentioned that it depends on how fast the conveyor belt is yet. This is STW isn’t it…?
A chinook flew over work this morning. This is probably one of the coolest sounds an aircraft can make.
The Chinook is known as the Wacka Wacka in some circles (ooh, a chance to write onomatopoeical 8) )Posted 5 years agoCletusMember
The Virgin Galactic plane can do 4000 km/h so a possible contender?
Re: the Blackbird I stayed in at the Riverside Inn in Downieville, California and the proprieter had some great tales about his time in the USAF including working on the SR71
Downieville is a great MTB destination!Posted 5 years ago
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