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Aviation Feats and Records, 1967

Major William J. Knight prepares to fire the X-15's rocket engineOn October 3, 1967, an X-15 piloted by U.S. Air Force Major William J. Knight reached a maximum speed of approximately mach 6.7, the fastest speed ever achieved by a manned aircraft. Unable to take off from the ground, the X-15 was carried to an altitude of 45,000 feet by a modified B-52. The record-shattering flight began over Utah at 14:31:50.9 local time, and ended at Rogers Dry Lakebed, California, at 14:40:07. The flight lasted 8 minutes 16 seconds, of which 2 minutes 20 seconds was rocket-powered, and cover over 213 miles. The heat generated during the flight was so intense that parts of the plane actually melted and broke away.

The X-15 has separated from its "mother craft" and Major Knight is just about to fire its rocket engine.

The Tactical Air Network

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This page was last updated on May 30, 2016.

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