May 27, 2022

The X-15 Hit Mach 6.7 (Faster Than The SR-71 Blackbird)

Posted by in categories: education, space

While the SR-71 Blackbird remains the world’s fastest air-breathing aircraft, the rocket-powered X-15 has its own richly deserved place in the aviation history record books: on October 3, 1967, U.S. Air Force test pilot William “Pete” Knight became the fastest flying pilot ever when he achieved a speed of Mach 6.7, a record that has stood for nearly 55 years.

The Baby Steps Before that “One Small Step for Man…”

As if that one particular superlative weren’t impressive enough, the X-15 helped make history in other ways: before Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon, he was taught to fly the X-15 to the edge of space by then-Colonel Chuck Yeager, who, of course, made history in his own right as the first man to break the sound barrier whilst flying the first of the “X” planes, t he Bell X-1.

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