aviation, Don Mathis

The 7 Most Inspiring Aviation Feats of All Time

A photo of two US navy men securing mounts on a fuel tank.

Want to know the world record for the fastest speed ever achieved by manned aircraft? What about the longest flight ever recorded? If you’re a fan of flight, then you’ll love this list of the most inspiring aviation feats of all time.

First Flying Machine: Sir George Cayley is the grandfather of the airplane. His research and early concepts in the late 1700s laid the groundwork for the aviation industry as we know it today. He flew his first successful glider model in 1804 and managed to complete a full-scale glider by mid-century, which became the first manned glider flight in history.

The First Airplane Flight: The most well-known duo in the aviation industry is Orville and Wilbur Wright, the two American brothers who invented and constructed the world’s first airplane. Their Wright Flyer 1 was a ragtag of materials including wood propellers, a propeller chain taken from an automobile, and a gas engine built in their bike shop. The 605 lb frankenstein Flyer took off on December 17, 1903 and flew 10 feet above the ground for 120 feet, 175 feet, and 200 feet during the first three flights.

First Female Solo Flight Across the Atlantic: In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She took off on May 20th from Newfoundland but her plans to land in Paris were interrupted by icy conditions, mechanical problems, and powerful wind currents. Fourteen hours and fifty-six minutes later, Earhart made her landing in Northern Ireland. Five years later she flew her last flight — Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

First Airplane to Circumnavigate the Globe Nonstop: It wasn’t until 1949 that the world witnessed the very first nonstop circumnavigational flight around the globe. The Boeing B-50 Superfortress, called Lucky Lady II, took off from Fort Worth Texas on February 26th. Ninety-four hours and 23,452 miles later, Lucky Lady II landed back on the same runway, making history in the progress. The stunning feat was only possible thanks to innovative mid-air refueling tactics and the plane’s four huge radial engines.

The Longest Flight Ever: Have you ever been on a 14 hour flight to China? What about a 17 hour nonstop flight from Dallas to Sydney? Now imagine spending 64… days on one nonstop flight. That’s how long Robert Timm and John Cook flew in their Cessna 172 — enough time to circumnavigate the world 6 times over. They hauled food and drink up by a rope and had to close off highways to facilitate truck refuelings for the record-breaking stunt.

The Fastest Top Speed Achieved: NASA and the U.S. Air Force teamed up to set a number of speed and altitude records in the early 1960s. Not only did their rocket-powered X-15 reach the edge of space twice during those flights (over 62 miles high) but it also broke the record for the fastest speed by a manned aircraft – 4,520 mph or 6.72 times the speed of sound!

The Highest Altitude Skydive: Although he did not operate an aircraft of any kind, Felix Baumgartner broke multiple records thanks to his daredevil skydiving maneuvers. In 2012, Baumgartner went 1.25 times the speed of sound in a 24 mile jump, becoming the first person to break the sound barrier without vehicular power. Then, Baumgartner took things further in 2014 with a jump of 25.74 miles, the official record for the highest altitude skydive in the world.

 

from Don Mathis, Skyward http://ift.tt/1sQElGO

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