The dream of inventing a machine that would propel people across entire oceans, continents and even short distances across countries is now over. Since the first days of the very first flying machine recorded on the planet, the world’s pretty much come a long way in fostering what we now know as modern airplanes.
Nowadays, there are planes that take people across oceans. They also takes us across countries and entire continents. And, yes, there are planes that just take us short distances from one place to another place. Though, there are now planes that travel in less than a day. In fact, these planes don’t only travel in less than a day—they travel in mere minutes.
Many of these planes we’re going to take a look at aren’t just normal planes. And, they certainly don’t travel normal. They break the speed of sound itself. So, here’s our look at 10 of the fastest planes that have graced the planet today.
The 10 Fastest Planes In The World
1. The Falcon HTV-2
The fastest jet in the world travels at a known faster-than-sound speed at 13,000 miles per hour. That’s the power of the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2—and, believe it or not, it was first launched in April 2010! So, at the turn of this decade, there were already planes in development that kept breaking further past the sound barrier than others. About a year later (August 2011), they launched the Falcon HTV-2 on another flight, still proving this jet’s pretty much the best in the world.
The best jet in the world is also there for a good cause. The Falcon HTV-2 was initially designed for the purpose of responding to potential terrorist attacks in no time—and does this jet get that done! Unfortunately, the Falcon HTV-2 is still pretty much unmanned, so no human will get to experience what it feel like to fly the Falcon HTV-2 until there’s a safer way to do that.
2. The X-43A Scramjet
The X-43A Scramjet is another one of the world’s fastest jets, this time crafted by NASA. While not as fast as the actual fastest jet in the world, the X-43A Scramjet still reaches incredible speeds of more than 7,000 miles per hour—which still pretty much places far past the sound barrier.
As another unmanned aircraft, it can efficiently meet its peak speeds in a little over 10 seconds. Thanks to its completely new engine, the Scramjet (supersonic-combustion-ramjet), the airplane doesn’t have to completely rely on using oxygen for its engine to properly operate, therefore making this aircraft light and capable.
3. The X-15
Another North America aircraft, the X-15 is more than capable of outputting an incredibly fast performance—worthy of training the world’s best astronauts. On an interesting note, Neil Armstrong, who needs no introduction, used the X-15 before he went to the Moon.
Since it produces a top speed at about 4,520 miles per hour, the X-15 is surely one of the fastest airplanes to grace the planet. It was initially designed as an aircraft to help more or less convert pilots into capable astronauts. That’s made possible due to the X-15’s construction, which makes it capable of ascending the 50 miles height without any trouble whatsoever.
4. The SR-71 BlackBird
The SR-71 BlackBird was one of a kind of its time, serving over 40 years as one of the fastest airplanes in the world, before its retirement in 1998. The SR-71 BlackBird was constructed entirely from titanium, under the employ of Lockheed Corporation.
This incredibly fast airplane reached speeds well over an estimated 2,200 miles per hour. At the time of its construction, the SR-71 BlackBird needed to be made from material stronger than the standard aluminum, thanks to the fact that its sheer speed made it reach temperatures over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit!
5. The MiG-25 FoxBat
As the fastest known jet fighter in the world, the MiG-25 FoxBat surprisingly enough wasn’t as maneuverable as one would expect. Though, it still wowed many people with its sheer speed—speed that more than made up for its maneuverability issues.
Two types of this particular jet fighter were developed and set out for launch during the 1960s into the 1970s. The first type, a reconnaissance variant, launched in the 1960s in response to the US B-70 bomber’s launch. The interceptor type launched in 1972. The MiG-25 FoxBat was even able to successfully dodge 10 missiles of the Gulf War F-15 type.
6. The Bell X-2 Starbuster
The Bell X-2 Starbuster is one of the world’s fastest aircraft, though its top speeds were something that caused the aircraft to become a liability. That liability ultimately involved whether or not the Bell X-2 Starbuster could house a pilot—and reach the peak speeds of 2,094 miles per hour that it was capable of reaching.
From its launch, many aviation researchers had concerns about the Bell X-2 Starbuster, mainly due to its issues with stability, control and the plane’s temperature thresholds for handling travel in near Mach 3 speeds. November 1955 marked its first flight, where Lt. Col. Frank K. Everest found that the plane was incredibly unstable. Captain Iven C. Kincheloe unfortunately discovered that the aircraft wasn’t yet capable of handling Mach 3 speeds—since it went out of control and crashed, taking him with it.
7. The XB-70 Valkyrie
The XB-70 Valkyrie was initially developed by the North American Aviation’s LA division, for use by the United States Air Force. Despite its brief active flight life, the XB-70 Valkyrie still make an impression in the aviation world—thanks to its incredible speeds.
This aircraft is still one of the fastest airplanes in the world, reaching an incredible top speed of 2,056 miles per hour. That’s made possibly by its 6 General Electric turbojet engines (model number YJ93-GE-3). The air-intake control system was the highlight of this aircraft, since it helps make breaking supersonic speeds possible. That system was responsible for absorbing ‘as much kinetic energy as that needed to stop well over 800 vehicles from traveling about 100 miles per hour.’
8. The MiG-31 FoxHound
Initially made as a replacement for the MiG-25 FoxBat, the MiG-31 FoxHound soon become its own aircraft. In fact, it’s one of the fastest supersonic interceptor aircraft in the world. This aircraft was actually developed by Russia to create an aircraft that had a better foothold on maneuverability. That design scheme more or less spoke of their goal to improve the maneuverability of their aircraft at top speeds.
The MiG-31 FoxHound can reach a top speed well over 1,860 miles per hour, something that’s surely the responsibility of its internal components: a powerful twin engine and enough powerful components to make supersonic travel efficient for the MiG-31 FoxHound.
9. The F-15 Eagle
Capable of reaching top speeds of 1,600 miles per hour, the F-15 Eagle is an American fight place that’s truly a real leader in aerial combat. It’s all in the features, too.
Those features include an incredibly robust radar system and a computer system that makes manned flight possible. The F-15 Eagle also harbors powerful engines that make this aircraft reach its top speeds in no time whatsoever.
10. The General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark
This aircraft is another one of the earliest modern aircraft to reach incredibly high peak flying speeds when in flight. The General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark is capable of reaching a peak speed of 1,650 miles per hour. Although retired, the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark has actually served as a pioneer in modern supersonic aircraft, right from its initial production in the 1960s.
That innovative technology included its high speed flight, automated tracking radar and more features that eventually made their way to other planes. Many of the planes we featured on this list actually owe it to the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark for their sound barrier breaking technology!