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October 4, 2017
 

Speed record set 50 years ago

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Fifty years ago on Oct. 3, 1967, Maj. William J. “Pete” Knight flew the modified X-15A-2 to a speed of Mach 6.72. The aircraft was flown with its full ablative coating and external fuel tanks. A dummy ramjet mounted on the lower ventral stub stabilizer fell away during the flight as a result of severe heat damage to the fairing. The flight marked the highest speed achieved in the X-15 program and remains the highest speed ever reached by a manned airplane.




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Air Force photograph by Kenji Thuloweit

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