Aeroplane Aviation Archive — Issue 33 The World’s Fastest Aircraft

(Jacob Rumans) #1

he need for speed’. This natural instinct is embedded in all
our psyche, so it is of little surprise that from the moment the
Wright brothers staggered into the air,  ying fast became
an obsession. Freed of our ‘earthly’ bonds, previously unimagined
speeds could now be attained and the kudos of being the fastest
person on the planet quickly manifested itself into a new sport...
air racing.
However, with the advent of World War 1, the power games turned
deadly serious. Speed now equated to survival. The art of dog ghting
became the art of energy management, a ballet of life and death. War
powered the technology, and by the early 1920s aircraft were exceeding
200mph. Come World War 2, this speed had already been doubled,
but the limits of propeller-powered aircraft were now reaching their
extremes. The arrival of the jet engine changed everything. Now the
only barrier was the sound barrier and when this was smashed by Chuck
Yeager in 1947, history was changed forever. The 1950s and early 1960s
was a golden time for ‘speed’ with records rapidly changing hands from
one side of the Atlantic to the other, with the UK and US pioneering the

Aviation Archive Series
The World’s Fastest Aircraft

  • Editor: Allan Burney • Design: Philip Hempell

  • Publisher and Managing Director: Adrian Cox • Executive Chairman: Richard Cox • Commercial Director: Ann Saundry • Group Editor: Nigel Price

  • Distribution: Seymour Distribution Ltd +44 (0)20 7429 4000 • Printing: Warners (Midlands) PLC, The Maltings, Manor Lane, Bourne, Lincs PE10 9PH.
    All rights reserved. The entire content of Aviation Archive is © Key Publishing 2017. Reproduction in whole or in part and in any form whatsoever is strictly prohibited without the prior permission of the Publisher. We are unable to guarantee the
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way. And then along came the aircraft that would smash all records and,
amazingly, remains unsurpassed to this day some 50 years after it tore the
heavens apart... the undisputed speed-master of them all, the Lockheed
SR-71 Blackbird.
This then is the incredible story of man’s conquest of the air, ranging
from the 6.82mph of the Wright Flyer to the Mach 2+ Concorde. Looking
back over the  rst 60 years of powered  ight, ‘Aviation Archive’ has picked
out 26 of the most notable record-breaking aircraft that have gone faster
than anything before. Like Maverick from ‘Top Gun’, quite simply, ‘we feel
the need...’

‘The World’s Fastest Aircraft’ is No 33 in the successful ‘Aviation Archive’
series. It features unparalleled photographic coverage, including many
exclusive and rare shots that have never been published before. The
words and photographs are complemented by ‘period’ cutaways from
the talented pens of the ‘Flight’ and ‘Aeroplane’ artists of the era, together
with exclusive aircraft pro les from Pete West and Rolando Ugolini.

The World’s Fastest Aircraft

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