15 Greatest Speed Records Compilation
The principal of speed appeals to the competitive disposition inherent to human impulse. In the days of Darwinian Theory the faster someone was – the less likely they were to be eaten. Concurrently mating selection would favor them due to a stronger physical prowess. These simple laws have produced an obsession with speed and strength. The Olympics have been around for approximately 3000 years demonstrating how long humans have pursued physical competition. With the advent of the motor vehicles, people all over have honored the timeless tradition of the pursuit of the quickest and the fastest speeds. Out of the top 15 speed records, 5 are unmotorized and 10 utilize motorized vehicles. It is interesting to note that of the records demonstrate the peak of human development, success, ingenuity, and in even pushing the envelope of insanity.
Speed of the Fastest Swimmer: 5.34 mph (8.6 km/hr)
At the French Championships in Montpelier, France, French swimmer Frédérick Bousquet set a world record on April 26, 2009, with the 50 m freestyle with a time of 20.94 seconds. He swam at an average speed of 5.342 mph (8.6 km/hr) and gained the record of fastest recorded human swimming. A sailfish can swim at speeds up to 68 mph (110 km/h) or about 90 body lengths per second, which demonstrates the inadequacy of the human body for swimming
Fastest Sprinting Speed: 27.278 mph (43.9 km/hr)
On August 16, 2008, Usain Bolt set a world record 100 m time at 9.69 seconds. Using 10 m splits, it was determined that in the seconds between 60 m and 70 m, he was clocked at an average speed of 27.278 mph (43.9 km/hr). The previous top speed record holder was Donovan Bailey who clocked in at 27.067 mph (43.56 km/hr).
Fastest Unpaced Biking Speed: 82.33 mph (132.5 km/h)
When something moves quickly through air it creates air currents. The larger the object the greater the current. The world record for paced biking is 167 mph, but it is unimpressive due to the motorized assistance given by the truck. The top speed for an unmotorized, unpaced bicycle is far more impressive. On September 18th, 2008) in Battle Mountain, NV -Sam Whittingham achieved a speed of 82.33 mph (132.5 km/h on a Varna Diablo III bike. Impressive for a vehicle solely powered by a human.
Fastest Skiing Speed: 156.2 mph (251.4 km/h)
In April 2006, in Les Arcs, France, Italian skier Simone Origone achieved a top speed of 156.2 mph (251.4 km/h) setting a new world record in speed skiing competition. It seems preposterous that one would strap on skis and ski- suit and accelerate downhill as fast as possible in the pursuit of adrenalin rush.
Fastest Freefall: 614 mph (988.14 km/hr)
In 1958, Project Excelsior was initiated. The project designed a parachute system allowing a safe controlled descent from high-altitude ejection. Staff at Wright Field tested the system by building a 200 ft (61 m) high helium balloon with a 3 million cubic feet (85,000 m³) capacity. The balloon could lift an open gondola and be tested in the stratosphere. Due to the unpressurized gondola, a pressurizing suit was required to help withstand harsh temperatures as low as −94 °F (−70 °C). On August 16, 1960, United States Air Force Commander Joseph Kittinger stepped out of Excelsior III at 102,800 feet (31,300 m). He fell for four minutes and 36 seconds and reached a maximum speed of 614 mph (988.14 km/hr). One of his gloves stopped working during the descent and his hand swelled to twice its normal size. He failed to alert the crew for fear they would abort the jump. Kittinger set world records for highest, longest and the fastest free fall with a parachute.
Fastest Production Car: 256.18 mph (412.28 km/h)
The fastest production car currently is the SSC Ultimate Aero. On September 13, 2007, in West Richland, WA it achieved a speed of 256.18 mph (412.28 km/h) with a V8 twin-turbo engine. The Aero narrowly beat out the previous record holder, the Bugatti Veyron which has a top speed of 253.81 mph (408.47 km/h).
Water Speed Record: 317 mph (511 km/h)
On October 8, 1978, in Blowering Dam, Australia, boat racer Ken Warby set the water speed record with a speed of 317.596 mph (511.13 km/h). For 3 decades his record remains unbroken. Water-speed dangerously claims the lives of many record pursuers.
Fastest Rail Train: 357 mph (574 km/h)
The French TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) is the fastest rail train with speeds of 357.18 mph (574.8 km/h. Since April 3, 2007, it takes 32 km of track to stop the train when accelerating at maximum speed, running only commercially at 300-320 km/h (186-200 mph) as per the required stopping distance of 8 km.
Fastest Motorcycle: 360 mph (580 km/h)
On September 26, 2008 at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, Rocky Robinson achieved a top speed of 360.913 mph (580.833 km/h). T Top 1 Oil-Ack Attack Streamliner Motorcycle was first accelerated using a truck, in which stabilizing wheels were retracted into the aerodynamic body, leaving the twin Suzuki engines accelerating to record-breaking speed.
Land-Speed Record: 763 mph (1,228 km/h)
On October 15, 1997 in Black Rock Desert, USA, UK driver Andy Green set a land-speed record using a Turbofan powered ThrustSSC. It achieved a speed of 763 mph (1,228 km/h) over a 1 mile distance breaking the sound barrier. Below describes how a Turbofan engine works:
“A turbofan is an aircraft engine consisting of ducted gas turbine fan power. The ducted fan passes through the gas turbine core creating power from oxygen burned fuel. Most of the air flow bypasses the engine core similar to the fan blades of a propeller” (Turbofan).
Fastest Manned Airplane: 2,193 mph (3,529 km/hr)
On July 28, 1976, Captain Eldon W. Joersz and Major George T. Morgan set an air speed record of 2,193.167 mph flying a SR-71 Blackbird. The previous speed record was set in June 1965 by a Lockheed YF12A Interceptor prototype which flew at 2,070.101 mph (3,331.505 km/h). The Blackbird had set the previous altitude record of 85,069 feet (25,929.03 m).of 80,257.86 ft (24,462.6 m) previously held by the Lockheed YF12A
Fastest Speed by Manned Aircraft: 4,519 mph (7,273 km/h)
A rocket propelled plane is its own category and is technically not considered an airplane. On October 3, 1967 pilot Pete Knight flew a rocket-powered aircraft 4,519 mph (7,273 km/h) at an altitude of 36.3 miles (58.4 km, breaking the record for top speed of a manned aircraft.
Fastest Unmanned Aircraft: 7,546 mph (12,144 km/hr)
On November 16th, 2004 an X-43A Hypersonic aircraft achieved a velocity of 7,546 mph (12,144 km/hr). A modified Pegasus rocket attached to a X-43A was launched from a Boeing B-52 at an altitude of 13,157 meters (43,166 ft). The aircraft was accelerated by the rocket which allowed a Scramjet to accelerate to a speed of 7,546 mph. A Supersonic Combustion Ramjet performs at velocities faster than the speed of sound. Below is a description of how a Ramjet works.
“An object moving through air at high speed generating a high pressure region in front , and a low pressure region in the rear. A ramjet uses high pressure in front to force air through the tube, which is then heated by fuel combustion. It is then passed through a nozzle to accelerate ramjet thrust giving it supersonic speeds.
Fastest Manned Spacecraft: 24,790 mph (39,896 km/h)
On May 26, 1969 the Apollo 10 crew, during their moon mission return had achieved the fastest speed of a manned vehicle by traveling at 24,790 mph (39,896 km/h. It was the first space mission to include an all veteran crew consisting of Thomas Stafford, John W. Young and Eugene Cernan.
Fastest Unmanned Spacecraft: 157,078 mph (252,792 km/h)
In the mid-1970s the Federal Republic of Germany and NASA launched the Helios 2 Space. It relayed data back to earth after orbiting around the sun. The spacecraft provided important information on solar plasma, solar winds, cosmic rays, cosmic dust, magnetic and electrical field data. The probe was the fastest spacecraft ever- reaching a speed of 157,078 mph (252,792 km/h) during its orbit.