It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a North American X-15! Since the first aircraft flight achieved by Wilbur and Orville Wright in 1903, planes have evolved into massive, powerful tools for cargo transportation, air travel, and military purposes. Let’s soar through 5 amazing aircraft facts!
5 Aircraft Facts
- The fastest aircraft in the world is the North American X-15. (source) It can achieve a maximum speed of 4,520 miles per hour. That’s around 75 miles per minute and 1.25 miles per second! Its first flight was in 1959 and it reached its maximum speed record on October 3rd, 1967.
- Planes are designed to be struck by lightning. (source) It is estimated that lightning strikes each aircraft about once a year – or once every 3,000 hours of travel time. However, lightning has not downed a plane since 1967. Careful engineering ensures that the electric charge travels through the plane and out of it to minimize damage.
- After one of their engines fails, some planes can keep flying for up to five hours. (source) ETOPS (extended twin operations) is a term for the duration of time a twin-engine plane can continue to safely cruise with one engine out of order. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was certified for 330 minutes of ETOPs in 2014, meaning it can fly for over five hours on just one engine.
- Black boxes are not black. (source) The black box, or the Flight Data Recorder, is actually painted bright orange to make it easier to find after a catastrophic event. Not only is the paint orange, it is also heat-resistant.