The 9 fastest piloted planes in the world

The world’s fastest manned planes are nothing short of engineering marvels.

Capable of flitting through the air at multiple times the speed of sound, these planes take both pilot and aircraft both to the fringe of science fiction.

Although a number of these aircraft have since been retired from use, they continue to be the fastest manned aircraft in human history.

The designs and advances achieved with these planes have also left an immense impact upon the development of the planes that succeeded them.

Here’s a look at the world’s nine fastest manned aircraft ever flown.

F-4 Phantom II

Wikipedia

Maximum speed: 1,472 miles per hour

Maximum range: 1,615 miles

First flight: May 27, 1958

The supersonic F-4 Phantom II jet was originally developed just for the US Navy and officially entered into service in 1960. In the mid-1960s, the interceptor was adopted by the US Marine Corps and the US Air Force.

The F-4 carries more than 18,000 pounds of weapons including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and various bombs. The primary fighter jet during the Vietnam War, the Phantom II was gradually replaced by more the F-15 and the F-18 Hornet.

Convair F-106 Delta Dart

Maximum speed: 2,170 miles per hour

Maximum range: 1,599 miles

First flight: March 6, 1964

The Soviet MiG-25, which was first introduced in 1970, was built as a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft. Due to the aircraft's large wings, the US assumed it was a highly manoeuvrable fighter; instead, the Foxbat needed the large wings due to its weight.

The MiG-25's maximum speed of Mach 3.2 is not sustainable without causing engine damage. It's top sustainable speed is 1,920 miles per hour (Mach 2.83).

Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxhound

Russian Air Force

Maximum speed: 2,170 miles per hour

Maximum range: 1,599 miles

First flight: March 6, 1964

The Soviet MiG-25, which was first introduced in 1970, was built as a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft. Due to the aircraft's large wings, the US assumed it was a highly manoeuvrable fighter; instead, the Foxbat needed the large wings due to its weight.

The MiG-25's maximum speed of Mach 3.2 is not sustainable without causing engine damage. It's top sustainable speed is 1,920 miles per hour (Mach 2.83).

Mikoyan Ye-152

Wikipedia

Maximum speed: 2,170 miles per hour

Maximum range: 1,599 miles

First flight: March 6, 1964

The Soviet MiG-25, which was first introduced in 1970, was built as a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft. Due to the aircraft's large wings, the US assumed it was a highly manoeuvrable fighter; instead, the Foxbat needed the large wings due to its weight.

The MiG-25's maximum speed of Mach 3.2 is not sustainable without causing engine damage. It's top sustainable speed is 1,920 miles per hour (Mach 2.83).

XB-70 Valkyrie

NASA

Maximum speed: 2,170 miles per hour

Maximum range: 1,599 miles

First flight: March 6, 1964

The Soviet MiG-25, which was first introduced in 1970, was built as a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft. Due to the aircraft's large wings, the US assumed it was a highly manoeuvrable fighter; instead, the Foxbat needed the large wings due to its weight.

The MiG-25's maximum speed of Mach 3.2 is not sustainable without causing engine damage. It's top sustainable speed is 1,920 miles per hour (Mach 2.83).

Bell X-2 'Starbuster'

US Air Force Photo

Maximum speed: 2,170 miles per hour

Maximum range: 1,599 miles

First flight: March 6, 1964

The Soviet MiG-25, which was first introduced in 1970, was built as a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft. Due to the aircraft's large wings, the US assumed it was a highly manoeuvrable fighter; instead, the Foxbat needed the large wings due to its weight.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 Foxbat

Dmitriy Pichugin

Maximum speed: 2,170 miles per hour

Maximum range: 1,599 miles

First flight: March 6, 1964

The Soviet MiG-25, which was first introduced in 1970, was built as a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft. Due to the aircraft's large wings, the US assumed it was a highly manoeuvrable fighter; instead, the Foxbat needed the large wings due to its weight.

The MiG-25's maximum speed of Mach 3.2 is not sustainable without causing engine damage. It's top sustainable speed is 1,920 miles per hour (Mach 2.83).

SR-71 Blackbird

Maximum speed: 2,200 miles per hour

Maximum range: 3,682 miles

First flight: December 22, 1964

The SR-71, designed by Lockheed Martin, was a marvel of a plane. It flew at altitudes of over 80,000 feet at speeds greater than 2,000 miles an hour. The plane, engineered for surveillance, flew for more than 30 years and it was capable of outrunning anti-aircraft missiles lobbed at it.

For perspective, on its retirement flight from Los Angeles to Washington, DC, the SR-71 flew coast to coast in only 67 minutes.

X-15

NASA

Maximum speed: 4,520 miles per hour

First flight: June 8, 1959

The world's fastest manned aircraft is part rocket, part jet. NASA's X-15 flew for the first time on June 8, 1959 after successfully deployed at 45,000 feet from another aircraft. A few years later, on October 3, 1967, the X-15 pulverized all flight speed records with a stunning 4,520 miles per hour or Mach 6.72 speed.

The X-15 flew a total of 199 flights over a course of 30 hours and 13 minutes.

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