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Record Zoom Flight

NF-104 Featured Image

Fifty-three years ago today, USAF Major Robert W. Smith zoomed the rocket-powered Lockheed NF-104A to an unofficial world record altitude of 120,800 feet. This mark still stands as the highest altitude ever achieved by a United States aircraft from a runway take-off. A zoom maneuver is one in which aircraft… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

First Over the South Pole

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Eighty-seven years ago this week, a four-man crew became the first Antarctic explorers to fly over the Earth’s South Pole. The aircraft used to make the historic flight was a Ford Trimotor. While substantial exploration of the Artic and Antarctic by land and sea had occurred far earlier, exploration of… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Project SKYBURNER

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Fifty-five years ago this week, a United States Navy YF4H-1 Phantom II set a world absolute speed record of 1,606.342 mph. Piloting the aircraft for this record flight was United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Robert B. Robinson. The McDonnell Douglas YF4H-1 Phantom II was first flown in May 1958.… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

X-43A Hits Mach 9.68

HX FLT II Featured Image

Twelve years ago today, the NASA X-43A scramjet-powered flight research vehicle reached a record speed of over 6,600 mph (Mach 9.68). In doing so, the X-43A eclipsed its own record speed of Mach 6.83 (4,600 mph) and became the fastest airbreathing aircraft of all time. In 1996, NASA initiated a… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

First to Mach Six

X-15 Mach 6 Flight Featured Image_filtered

Fifty-five years ago today, the USAF/NASA/North American X-15 became the first manned aircraft to exceed Mach 6. United States Air Force test pilot Major Robert M. White was at the controls of the legendary hypersonic flight research aircraft. The North American X-15 was the first manned hypersonic aircraft. It was… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Gemini-Titan XII

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Fifty years ago this month, NASA’s pioneering spaceflight program, Project Gemini, was brought to a successful conclusion with the 4-day flight of Gemini XII. Remarkably, the mission was the tenth Gemini flight in 20 months. Boosted to Earth orbit by a two-stage Titan II launch vehicle, Gemini XII Command Pilot… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

USAF B-1A Rollout

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Forty-two years ago today, the official rollout of the first USAF/Rockwell B-1A multi-role strategic bomber took place at the contractor’s USAF Plant 42 facility in Palmdale, California. The swing-wing, supersonic aircraft was intended to replace the venerable USAF/Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. The USAF/Rockwell B-1A Lancer was the product of 1960’s-era Air… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Triple Sonic

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Fifty-one years ago this month, the USAF/North American XB-70A Valkyrie reached three times the speed of sound for the first time. The historic aviation achievement took place on the 18th anniversary of the breaking of the sound barrier by the USAF/Bell XS-1. When it comes to legendary aircraft, aviation enthusiasts… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Rising From the Ashes

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Forty-eight years ago this month, NASA successfully conducted the first manned Apollo Earth-orbital mission with the flight of Apollo 7. This mission was a critically-important milestone along the path to the first manned lunar landing in July 1969. The launch of Apollo 7 took place from Launch Complex 34 at… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Sigma Seven

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Fifty-four years ago this week, Mercury Astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Jr. orbited the Earth six (6) times in his Mercury spacecraft code-named Sigma 7. The near-perfect 9-hour spaceflight was the United States’ third manned orbital mission flown within a period of eight (8) months. Project Mercury was United States’ first… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History
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