List of vehicle speed records

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The following is a list of speed records for various types of vehicles. This list only presents the single greatest speed achieved in each broad record category; for more information on records under variations of test conditions, see the specific article for each record category. As with many world records, there may be some dispute over the criteria for a record-setting event, the authority of the organization certifying the record, and the actual speed achieved.

Land vehicles

ThrustSSC, which has held the land speed record since 15 October 1997
VeloX3, the former world's fastest human-powered vehicle

By type of vehicle

Category Speed (km/h) Speed (mph) Vehicle Operator Date Certified by References
Land speed record1 1,227.985 763.035 ThrustSSC Andy Green 15 Oct 1997 FIA [1]
Wheel-driven2 745.187 463.038 Vesco Turbinator II Dave Spangler 14 Aug 2018 SCTA [2][3]
Piston-driven3 722.204 448.757 Challenger 2 Danny Thompson 12 Aug 2018 SCTA [4]
Motorcycle4 605.698 376.363 Ack Attack Rocky Robinson 25 Sep 2010 FIM [5]
Diesel-powered5 563.998 350.452 JCB DieselMax Andy Green 23 Aug 2006 FIA [6]
Electric-powered5 550.627 342.144 Venturi VBB‑3 Streamliner Roger Schroer 19 Sep 2016 FIA [6]
Steam-powered5 238.679 148.308 Inspiration Don Wales 25 Aug 2009 FIA [6]
Wind-powered6 203.09 126.19 Ecotricity Greenbird Richard Jenkins 26 Mar 2009 NALSA [7]
Human-powered7 144.17 89.58 AeroVelo Eta Todd Reichert 17 Sep 2016 IHPVA [8]
Solar-powered8 91.332 56.751 Sky Ace TIGA Kenjiro Shinozuka 20 Aug 2014 GWR [9]
Radio-controlled car (rocket) 338.14 210.11 Black Knight Anthony Lovering 4 May 2016 GWR [10][11]
Radio-controlled car (battery) 325.12 202.02 RC Bullet Nic Case 25 Oct 2014 GWR [12][13]
Tracked vehicle 82.23 51.10 S2000 Scorpion Peacekeeper 26 Jan 2002 GWR [14]
1.^ Average over two subsequent runs in opposite directions over a 1 mile (1.6 km) course, with flying start[15]
2.^ Average over 1 mile (1.6 km), with a flying start
3.^ Average over two subsequent runs with four hours to work on the vehicle in impound[16]
4.^ Average over 1 kilometre (0.62 mi), with a flying start
5.^ Average over two subsequent runs in opposite directions over a 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) course, with flying start[15]
6.^ Average over three seconds
7.^ Unpaced on a straight surface -0.6% grade;[17] average over 200 metres (660 ft), with flying start (For other cycling records, see cycling records)
8.^ For vehicles powered entirely by solar power, without batteries

By surface

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The Apollo 17 LRV, the fastest vehicle driven on the moon
Category Speed (km/h) Speed (mph) Vehicle Operator Date Certified by References
On ice 335.7 208.6 Audi RS 6 Janne Laitinen 9 Mar 2013 FIA [18]
On the Moon 18.0 11.2 Apollo 17 Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV‑003) Eugene Cernan 31 Jul 1972 (unofficial) [19]
On Mars 0.18 0.11 Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity Jet Propulsion Laboratory, with semi‑autonomous control Jul 2004 GWR [20]

Rail vehicles

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Lt. Col. John P. Stapp rides the rocket sled at Edwards Air Force Base
Schienenzeppelin
Category Speed (km/h) Speed (mph) Vehicle Operator Date Certified by References
Rocket sled 10,326 6,416 Super Roadrunner (unmanned) 29 Apr 2003 USAF [21]
Maglev rocket sled 1,019 633 USAF rocket sled (unnamed) (unmanned) 4 Mar 2016 USAF [22]
Rocket sled (manned) 1,017 632 Sonic Wind No. 1 John Stapp 10 Dec 1954 USAF [23]
Maglev train (manned) 603 375 SCMaglev L0 Series Shinkansen 21 Apr 2015 GWR [24]
Wheeled train 574.8 357.2 TGV POS V150 Eric Pieczac 3 Apr 2007 [25][26]
Propeller-driven rail car 230 140 Schienenzeppelin Franz Kruckenberg 21 June 1931 [27][28]
Steam train 202.6 125.9 LNER Class A4 4468 Mallard Joseph Duddington and Thomas Bray 3 Jul 1938 [29][30][31]

Aircraft

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North American X-15, the fastest manned rocket-powered aircraft
SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest manned air-breathing aircraft

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Musculair 2, the fastest human-powered aircraft

Aircraft speed records are based on airspeed, rather than ground speed.

Category Speed (km/h) Speed (mph) Mach number1 Vehicle Pilot Date Certified by References
Unmanned aerial vehicle 21,245 13,201 ~20 HTV‑2 (unmanned) 22 Apr 2010 (unofficial) [32]
Manned rocket-powered aircraft 7,270 4,520 6.7 North American X‑15A‑2 William J. Knight 3 Oct 1967 GWR [33][34]
Manned air-breathing craft 3,530 2,190 3.33 Lockheed SR‑71A Blackbird
#61‑7958
Eldon W. Joersz 28 Jul 1976 FAI [35]
Propeller-driven aircraft 870 540 0.82 Tupolev Tu‑114 Ivan Soukhomline 1960 FAI [36][37]
Piston-engined aircraft 850.24 528.31 0.69 Grumman F8F Bearcat
Rare Bear
Lyle Shelton 21 Aug 1989 FAI [38][39]
Helicopter2 400.87 249.09 0.33 Westland Lynx 800 G‑LYNX John Egginton 11 Aug 1986 FAI [40]
Electric aircraft3 324.02 201.34 0.26 Rutan Long‑EZ (N89CY) William M. Yates 23 Nov 2013 FAI [41]
Glider (sailplane)4 306.8 190.6 0.25 Schempp‑Hirth Nimbus‑4DM Klaus Ohlmann and Matias Garcia Mazzaro 22 Dec 2006 FAI [42]
Airship 115 71 0.09 Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik
LZ N07‑100 (DLZFN)
Steve Fossett and Hans‑Paul Ströhle 27 Oct 2004 FAI [43]
Human-powered aircraft 44.32 27.54 0.036 Musculair 2 Holger Rochelt 2 Oct 1985 FAI [44]
Ground effect vehicle See entry under § Watercraft.
1.^ Mach number depends on ambient temperature, and thus altitude, as well as speed; it is not a direct measure of speed.
2.^ Unofficial helicopter speed records by the Sikorsky X2 (460 km/h on 15 September 2010) and the Eurocopter X3 (472 km/h on 7 June 2013) would surpass this record if accepted.
3.^ Over a 3-kilometer course
4.^ Average speed over an out-and-return course of 500 km

Watercraft

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A model of the Spirit of Australia, which set the water speed record in 1978

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Decavitator, the world's fastest human-powered watercraft
Category Speed
(knots)
Speed
(km/h)
Speed
(mph)
Vehicle Operator Date Certified by References
Water speed record 275.98 511.11 317.59 Spirit of Australia Ken Warby 8 Oct 1978 UIM [45][46]
Propeller-driven watercraft 226.78 420.00 260.97 Problem Child Daryl Ehrlich 22 Nov 2009 IHBA, GWR [47][48]
Wind-powered watercraft 65.45 121.21 75.32 Vestas Sailrocket 2 Paul Larsen 24 Nov 2012 WSSRC [49][50]
Hovercraft1 74.2 137.4 85.4 Universal UH19P Jenny II Bob Windt 1 Jan 1995 WHF, GWR [51]
Human-powered watercraft 18.5 34.3 21.3 Decavitator Mark Drela 27 Oct 1991 IHPVA [52][53]
Human-powered submarine 8.035 14.881 9.247 Omer 5 Sebastien Brisebois and Joel Brunet 28 Jun 2007 ISR [54]
Ground effect vehicle2 350 650 400 Korabl Maket (Naval Prototype) "Caspian Sea Monster" ca. 1966–1980 (unofficial) [55]
Underwater vehicle There is no officially recognized speed record for underwater craft, due to the secretive nature of military vessels. In 1968, a Russian November class submarine reportedly tracked an American carrier group traveling at 31 knots (57 km/h; 36 mph).[56] Unmanned torpedo speed claims range from 60 knots (110 km/h; 69 mph) for the British Spearfish torpedo[57] to 200 knots (370 km/h; 230 mph) for the Russian VA-111 Shkval.[58]
1.^ Measured over 1 km with a flying start
2.^ Ground effect vehicles (a.k.a. "Wing-In-Ground effect vehicles") are classified as maritime vessels, rather than aircraft, by the International Maritime Organization.[59]

Spacecraft

Parker Solar Probe (artist rendering)
Apollo 10 command module Charlie Brown, the fastest manned vehicle relative to the Earth

In order to unambiguously express the speed of a spacecraft, a frame of reference must be specified. Typically, this frame is fixed to the body with the greatest gravitational influence on the spacecraft, as this is the most relevant frame for most purposes.[60] Velocities in different frames of reference are not directly comparable; thus the matter of the "fastest spacecraft" depends on the reference frame used.

Because of the influence of gravity, maximum velocities are usually attained when a spacecraft is close to its primary body, either just after launch, just prior to atmospheric entry, or at a point of closest approach (periapsis).

Frame of reference Category Speed relative to frame of reference Vehicle Operator Crew Date Certified by References
km/h km/s mph
Sun Periapsis 343,112 95.309 213,200 Parker Solar Probe United States NASA (unmanned) 6 Nov 20181 GWR [61]
Earth Escape 58,536 16.260 36,373 New Horizons United States NASA (unmanned) 19 Jan 2006 [62]
Entry 46,100 12.8 28,600 Stardust United States NASA (unmanned) 15 Jan 2006 [63]
Entry (manned) 39,897 11.083 24,791 Apollo 10 CSM Charlie Brown United States NASA Thomas Stafford, John Young,
and Eugene Cernan
26 May 1969 [64]
Mars Entry 27,000 7.6 17,000 Mars Pathfinder United States NASA (unmanned) 4 July 1997 [65]
Jupiter Orbit insertion 209,000 58 130,000 Juno United States NASA (unmanned) 4 Jul 2016 [66][60]
Entry 173,736 48.260 107,955 Galileo United States NASA (unmanned) 21 Sep 2003 [67]
Saturn Periapsis 122,000 34 76,000 Cassini United States NASA (unmanned) 27 Apr 2017 [68]
1.^ The Parker Solar Probe is expected to beat this record at its next perihelion in April 2019. Following several more gravity assists at Venus, the spacecraft is expected to reach a maximum speed at perihelion of approximately 200 km/s (720,000 km/h; 450,000 mph) on December 24, 2024.[69]

See also

References

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  2. ^ Brandan Gillogly (14 August 2018), Team Vesco's Turbinator II runs 463 mph, breaks Speed Week record, Hagerty
  3. ^ Speed Week 2018 certified records, Southern California Timing Association, 18 August 2018, p. 8
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  5. ^ "Short distance record attempt / Tentative de records de courte distance: Cook Motorsports Private Land Speed Shootout – Bonneville Salt Flats, USA (September 20-25, 2010)". Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "FIA Records List Cat. A" (Download). Federation Internationale de L'automobile. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  7. ^ Dill, Bob (5 April 2009). "Measurement Report: Speed Record Attempt Made by Richard Jenkins in the Yacht Greenbird on March 26, 2009".
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