New Speed Record Set - History

New Speed Record Set - History

An airforce F-106 set a new worlds speed record on December 15th. The plane was piloted Major Joseph Rodges and flew at a speed of 1,525 mph

The Nose Speed, new record set by Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds on El Capitan

There&rsquos new speed record up The Nose on El Capitan. Early on 21 October the American climbers Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds raced up most famous big wall climb in the world in a mere 2 hours, 19 minutes and 44 seconds. In doing so the duo bettered by almost four minutes the previous speed record, described by some as &ldquounbeatable&rdquo and set in 2012 by none other than Alex Honnold and Hans Florine.

Ever since the first ascent was carried out over 47 days between 1957 and 1958 by Warren Harding, Wayne Merry and George Whitmore, speed climbing on The Nose has a long and rich history. Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, Chuck Pratt and Tom Frost made the second ascent in 1960 in 7 days, while fifteen years later Jim Bridwell, John Long, Billy Westbay clocked in a time of 17:45 and became the first to climb the route in a single day. As times started to drop rapidly in the 1990&rsquos, the level of risk started to rise exponentially.

Tactics are &ldquoeverything goes&rdquo, including free climbing, pulling on gear wherever necessary, simul-climbing and extremely long run-outs which could result in huge falls, as happened unfortunately on 11 October to Quinn Brett. The late Dean Potter, who held the speed record on various occasions at the start of the new millennium, noted that &ldquospeed climbing is one of the most dangerous things you can do as a climber&rdquo. But evidently it is also extremely fascinating, as we found out when speaking to Reynolds, a member of the Yosemite Search and Rescue team.

Jim, how did you get into speed climbing the Nose?
I first climbed the Nose 6 years ago with my good friend Dave Gealy. Quickly thereafter we felt the pull to go faster and do more, first with an In-a-day ascent and later linking Half Dome and El Cap in the same day. It wasn't until last year that Brad and I climbed the Nose together. We whittled our time down and went into winter agreeing to try for real in the spring, but then Brad broke his ankle so we weren't able to try until fall.

How did you train?
During the summer I mountain biked for cardio and practiced with my wooden katana for mental acuity and body awareness.

Wooden Katana?
Also known as bokken. It&rsquos a wooden sword styled after the sword of the Japanese samurai, which was used in practice for swordsmanship. I like to describe my use of it as Conscious Movement.

And then you trained on the route
Yes, when fall hit it was just lap after lap on The Nose. On our 11th attempt this fall we broke the record by 4 minutes and our previous best time by 10 minutes.

How much gear did you carry?
We took 8 cams, 11 quick draws, and 14 spare carabiners. For the first 14 pitches, Brad only places 4 cams, and clips fixed gear and anchors otherwise. I climb the upper 60% of the route getting one gear resupply. Basically we are stretching the rack super far, relying on our free climbing ability to get us up, which is all a little easier each time we choose to bring 1 less piece.

So tell us about your safety margin
The run-outs are huge, but we determined we have enough gear that we can slow down and climb relatively safe if we feel uncomfortable. It means that we have to be really honest and understanding of our bodies capabilities. Knowing when to push it or not is the biggest factor of safety.

When did you climb? It's a busy season&hellip did you have to overtake parties?
This season we climbed in September and October. Early in the season there were few parties, but the temps were hot and we were just getting in shape. By the time things cooled off, MANY parties had taken to the wall. We averaged passing 5-6 parties each time we climbed. Strategically, we always climbed at first light to get wall parties before they were fully moving.

Why do you think you were faster now? 4 minutes is quite a leap forward.
I think we were 4 minutes faster because we are both dedicated young climbers with a ton of Yosemite experience. Nose speed climbing suited each of us well and we put in a lot of time and energy to learn the intricacies of the mountain. El Cap speed climbing in taxing physically and psychologically, but we were patient and determined.

As you mentioned, you guys have put a lot into this. So what's the draw? What makes speed climbing up The Nose so fascinating?
I've always loved the Nose, ever since I started climbing here. As soon as I climbed the Nose the first time in three days I wanted to climb it in one. Once we climbed it in a day, I wanted to link it up with Half-Dome. I evolved and so did my climbing. For me the flow up there is unique and beautiful, and going fast on the Nose is one of the most fun things I've ever done.

Last question: can you see yourself going faster?
I think it's possible to go faster but it's like free-soloing, in that just because you probably can, doesn't mean you should. I'm not done speed climbing, but I'm excited for other projects now.

The Nose Speed
10/2014 - 5:02 Mayan Smith-Gobat & Libby Sauter
09/2013 - 5:39 Mayan Smith-Gobat & Libby Sauter
09/2012 - 7:26 Mayan Smith-Gobat & Chantel Astorga
06/2012 - 10:19 Jes Meiris & Quinn Brett
09/2011 - 10:40 Libby Sauter & Chantel Astorga
2004 - 12:15 Heidi Wirtz & Vera Schulte-Pelkum


10/2017 - 2:19:44 Brad Gobright & Jim Reynolds
06/2012 - 2:23:46 Hans Florine & Alex Honnold
11/2010 - 2:36:45 Dean Potter & Sean Leary
10/2008 - 2:37:05 Hans Florine & Yuji Hirayama
07/2008 - 2:43:33.Hans Florine & Yuji Hirayama
10/2007 - 2:45:45 Thomas Huber & Alexander Huber
09/2002 - 2:48:55 Hans Florine & Yuji Hirayama
2001 - 3:24:20 Dean Potter & Timmy O&rsquoNeill
1992 - 4:22 Hans Florine & Peter Croft
1991 - 4:48 Peter Croft & Dave Schultz
1991 - 6:01 Hans Florine & Andres Puhvel
1990 - 6:40 Peter Croft &Dave Schultz
1990 - 8:11 Hans Florine & Steve Schneider
1986 - 10:05 John Bachar & Peter Croft
1975 - 17:45 Jim Bridwell, John Long, Billy Westbay, first repeat in a day
1960 - 7 days, Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, Chuck Pratt e Tom Frost, first repeat
1958 - 47 days, Warren Harding, Wayne Merry e George Whitmore, first ascent

Land speed records: a history of a British obsession

The land speed record has long been a goal for British engineers and daredevils alike. There are few - if any - better cars to take a look back at it with than the Jaguar F-Type SVR.

I magine that most people who read this have done 126mph in a car, maybe driving, maybe as a passenger, maybe legally, maybe not. If you have, you&rsquoll know it&rsquos not that big a deal. If you&rsquore on a long, straight autobahn or on a race track and your car is one with a top speed beyond 150mph, 126mph can be an entirely unremarkable, uninteresting speed.

But it wasn&rsquot to Victor Hémery, the first of many heroes about to appear on these pages. Hémery was the first man to drive a car at 126mph anywhere in the world and he chose to do it right here in Britain in 1909 at the recently opened Brooklands race track. His weapon was a brand-new 200hp Benz boasting not only a 21.5-litre engine under its enormous bonnet but also a name that would pass into motoring folklore.

This was the &lsquoBlitzen Benz&rsquo, the lightning Benz. This chain-driven leviathan had brakes on its rear wheels only, and with a mere four cylinders, each piston swept a larger area than that displaced by an entire 10-cylinder Lamborghini Huracán engine. To Hémery, as he thundered around the notoriously bumpy banking, fighting to retain control of his man-made monster, 126mph would have been a very big deal indeed.

But it was worth fighting for, because it made him the first person to claim the land speed record on British soil.

In 1909, 126mph was not just the fastest a car had ever gone: it was the fastest anything had ever gone, be it plane, train or automobile. At the time, there were still people who believed it would be impossible to survive such speeds because you&rsquod simply not to be able to breathe.

Go to Brooklands today in something like this Jaguar F-Type SVR, gaze up at the remains of the banking around which Hémery would have wrestled the Benz and it seems strange that anyone could ever have deemed this a suitable venue for such a feat. Although the full circuit disappeared a lifetime ago, it&rsquos easy to imagine lapping its long straights and two banked curves, easier still to realise that even in a car as smooth and swift as the SVR, a 126mph lap would be something to remember.

The SR-71 Blackbird cruises above Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound).

It has set numerous speed and altitude records including the following in chronological order

    Absolute Altitude: 80,257.86 ft (24,390 meters). YF-12A # 60-6934

Absolute Speed Over a Straight Course: 2,070.101 mph . YF-12A #60-6936

Absolute Speed Over a 500km Closed Course: 1,688.889 mph . YF-12A #60-6936

Absolute Speed Over a 1,000km Closed Course: 1,643.041 mph . YF-12A #60-6936

Go to this web page for complete information and photos of the YF-12A Record Flights:

    New York to London (World Record-Speed Over a Recognized Course): Distance: 3,461.53 statute miles . Time: 1hr 54 min 56.4 secs. Average Speed1,806.95 statute mph.

Crew: Major's James V. Sullivan, Pilot and Noel F. Widdifield, Reconnaissance Systems Operator

Go to this web page for complete information and photos of the New York to London Record Flight:

    London to Los Angeles (World Record-Speed Over a Recognized Course): Distance: 5,446.87 statute miles . Time: 3hrs 47min 39secs. Average Speed: 1,435.59 mph

Crew: Capt. Harold B. (Buck) Adams, Pilot, with Maj. William C. Machorek, Reconnaissance
Systems Operator

Go to this web page for complete information and photos of the London to LA Record Flight:

Speed Over a Straight Course (15-25km): 2,193.167 mph SR-71A(Tail #958). World Absolute and World Class Speed Record over a 15/25 Kilometer Straight Course - 2,193.167 MPH surpassing the previous record set by a Lockheed YF12A Interceptor prototype in June 1965. SR-71 Flown by Capt. Eldon W. Joersz. Pilot and Major George T. Morgan Jr., RSO

Speed Over a Closed Course (1000km): 2,092.294 mph SR-71A(Tail #958). Two records set: World Absolute Closed Circuit Speed Record over a 1000 Kilometer Course (The SR-71 is a Class C-1 Group III jet engine aircraft, same as the Mig-25 Foxbat) - 2092.293 MPH, surpassing the previous Absolute Speed Record of 1853 MPH and the World Class Speed Record of 1815 MPH set by a Russian Mig-25 Foxbat in October, 1967. SR-71 flown by Major Adolphus H. "Pat" Bledsoe, Jr., Pilot and Major John T. Fuller, RSO.

Go to this web page for complete information and images of the World Record Flights set in 1976:

Los Angeles To Washington D.C. (World Record): Distance: 2,299.67 statute miles. Time: 1 hr 04 min 19.89 secs. Average Speed: 2,144.83 mph

St Louis To Cincinnati (World Record): Distance: 311.44 statute miles. Time: 8 mins 31.97 secs. Average Speed: 2,189.94 mph

Kansas City To Washington D.C. (World Record): Distance: 942.08 statute miles. Time: 25 mins 58.53 secs. Average Speed: 2176.08 mph

Crew for above four records: Ed Yeilding and J.T. Vida

(Above data verified by Ed Yeilding on November 22, 2002)

Go to this web page for complete information of the above Record Flights set in March of 1990:

Recap of Destination and Records Set

    • New York to London 1 hr 54 min 56.4 sec.
    • London to Los Angeles 3 hrs 47 min 39 sec.
    • West Coast to East Coast USA 1 hr 7 min 53.6 sec.
    • Los Angeles To Washington D.C. 1 hr 4 min 19.8 sec.
    • St Louis To Cincinnati 8 min 31.9 sec.
    • Kansas City to Washington D.C. 25 min 58.5 sec.

    Editors Note: On November 20, 1965 an A-12 Blackbird exceeded Mach 3.2 and a sustained altitude of 90,000 feet. A stripped down, highly modified Soviet Mig-25 did break some of the Blackbirds records, however the SR-71 regained those records in July, 1976. Visit the Mig-25 page for more information: "Mig-25 Foxbat Vs the SR-71 Blackbird"

    Source for Record Data: The Blackbird Auburn Files and "Lockheed SR-71 The Secret Missions Exposed", Author Paul F. Crickmore. Revised Edition Spring 1997, published by Osprey Aerospace. ISBN 1-85532-681-7

    Speed world record in the year 1903

    In 1899, Siemens & Halske and its competitor AEG were each awarded an order to equip a high-speed railcar. The first test series began in October 1903. On a 23-kilometer stretch of test track between Berlin-Marienfelde and Zossen, speeds of more than 200 kilometers per hour were reached for the first time in the history of rail travel. The railcar’s single-phase alternating-current system was a milestone in the design of high-performance traction motors.

    “A railway without steam or horses” – The future belongs to the electric locomotive

    At the end of 1866, Werner von Siemens discovered a novel way of using the dynamoelectric principle with high efficiency. Only a few years later, this insight served as the foundation for developing a new drive technology for transporting people and freight: the electric motor.

    In 1879, Siemens & Halske unveiled the world’s first electric locomotive at the Berlin Trade Fair. In 1881, the world’s first electric tramway went into operation in Groß-Lichterfelde, while the first electric subway on the European continent made its debut in Budapest in 1896.

    The electric locomotives quickly superseded the steam-driven “iron horses” that had previously been considered a symbol of technological progress. The “railway without steam or horses” was unheard of and revolutionized rail travel in Europe. Horse-drawn streetcar carriages were equipped with electric motors, and electric locomotives were increasingly used in mining and industry as well.

    However, the voltage of the overhead contact line for the direct-current system that was commonly used at the time was too low for long-distance travel – which required standard-gauge railways for passenger and freight transport. The direct-current system’s maximum voltage of 600 volts was not sufficient to transmit the power needed to drive fast, heavy trains across long distances.

    Alternating current instead of direct current – “More, faster, further”

    As early as the 1890s, the engineers at Siemens & Halske – above all, Walter Reichel, who developed a special bow collector – looked to the alternating current system to increase the speed and transport capacity of electric railways. The use of single- and multi-phase alternating current made it possible to select a relatively high voltage for the contact line. Transformers in the locomotive then converted the voltage to the level required for the traction motors. Railcars with high-voltage three-phase alternating current were tested on the premises of the Charlottenburg plant and at the company’s test track in Groß-Lichterfelde.

    In 1899, these tests gave rise to the establishment of the Research Association for High-Speed Electric Railways (Studiengesellschaft für elektrische Schnellbahnen, or StES), whose members included Siemens & Halske and its competitor AEG as well as several German banks and mechanical engineering companies. To test the operation of fast electric railways, the association commissioned each of the competing electrical engineering companies to equip a high-speed railcar.

    Both vehicles were ready for operation in the fall of 1901. The high-speed railcar from Siemens & Halske looked like a conventional high-speed carriage and was aerodynamically shaped in the front. Nearly 24 meters long, it weighed 89 tons and had wooden seats for 48 persons in the passenger compartment between the two driver’s cabs. The carriage rested on two three-axle bogies, for each of which power was supplied via three bow connectors.

    Test runs at world-record speed – The Zossen high-speed railcar reaches 210 kilometers per hour

    The first test runs were conducted on a section of track on the Royal Military Railway that was specially equipped with a three-phase overhead line. In early October 1903, on the 23-kilometer stretch of test track between Berlin-Marienfelde and Zossen, the Siemens railcar reached speeds of more than 200 kilometers per hour for the first time in the history of rail travel. The AEG railcar equipped with Siemens bow collectors ultimately set a world record of 210 kilometers per hour that was to last for 50 years. These test-runs impressively demonstrated that high-voltage alternating current was suitable for the high speeds that were envisioned for long-distance travel.

    The single-phase alternating current system prevails – Real-life operation can begin

    Nevertheless, because the alternating-current technology was not yet mature, the successfully tested rail electrification system did not go into real-life operation. There were two major arguments against using the system in everyday rail operation: multiple poles were required to support the overhead lines, leading to complications at the track switches and intersections, and the ability to regulate the rotational speed of the electric motors was limited.

    As a result, the single-phase alternating-current system gained acceptance. In 1912, a cross-border agreement was reached, establishing a 15-kilovolt, 16.7-hertz rail electrification system that is still used in Central Europe today. A single-pole overhead line supplied power for the system. The use of single-phase alternating current made it possible to transform the voltage for the low-loss control of rotational speed, while the low frequency allowed for the construction of powerful traction engines early on – thus enabling the entire system to be flexibly adapted to the relevant route requirements.

    John Glenn’s Project Bullet

    Marine Corps Major John Glenn got up on the morning of July 16, 1957, strapped into a Vought F8U Crusader, and took off from Los Alamitos Naval Air Station in California like a cannon shot. Three hours, 23 minutes, and 8.4 seconds later (a time based on a National Aeronautic Association formula for records), he touched down at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York, setting a transcontinental speed record: 725.55 mph. At a time when aviation records were still a big deal in both the media and in geopolitics, the feat put Glenn on the radar just before selections would be made for the first class of astronauts and served notice that carrier-based aircraft could match speeds with anyone.

    Most brief accounts of the record attempt leave out some details that Glenn graciously agreed to fill in during a recent conversation. Far from being a publicity stunt, he says, the flight was intended to prove that the Pratt & Whitney J-57 would tolerate an extended period at combat power—full afterburner—without damage. After the flight, the engine maker tore the J-57 down and, based on the examination, lifted all power limitations on J-57s from that day forth. The airplane was a photo-reconnaissance version, an F8U-1P, which carried more fuel than the armed fighter. On this flight, it was loaded with enough film so its cameras would run continuously for the entire trip. The Crusader, sometimes called “the last gunfighter,” had no search radar, so for his three refuelings, Glenn had to find the AJ Savage tankers—North American’s converted twin-recip-engine bombers sent up in pairs for redundancy—using a direction finder to home on the tankers’ beacons.

    During a practice refueling over Texas before the record flight, he recalls, “I was plugged in and taking fuel when the tanker’s right engine started belching black smoke. Then the left engine started doing the same thing. I pulled out the [refueling] drogue and flew wing on him, and he couldn’t hold altitude. He got down to around 3,500 feet and ordered a bailout.” Glenn watched the crew get out with three good chutes as the airplane descended and crashed in an open area. “It was full of fuel and went off like an atomic bomb,” he says. An investigation later revealed that the ground crew had mistakenly put jet fuel in the AJ’s gasoline tanks.

    After each refueling, Glenn applied full afterburner and climbed to about 30,000 feet, drifting up to 50,000 for maximum range as fuel burned off. Inversion layers in the western air mass muffled the sonic boom reaching the ground, but at Indianapolis the inversion layers disappeared and booms began rattling windows. In Glenn’s hometown of New Concord, Ohio, the pilot’s mother had told a neighbor that her son would be flying over at a certain time that morning, and when the boom hit, the woman came running to the Glenn house yelling, “Johnny dropped a bomb!”

    Glenn came up with the name Project Bullet for the flight because he would fly faster than a round from a .45-caliber pistol. Somebody eventually affixed a small plaque to the airplane, and “I got notes for years from people who flew it,” he says. One version of its story says it was shot down over Vietnam, while another says it was damaged on landing on a carrier in the Indian Ocean and went over the side. Glenn, of course, went on to orbit Earth in Friendship 7 and later got elected to the Senate, but for one day in 1957, he was the fastest man in the Marine Corps.

    About George C. Larson

    George C. Larson served as editor of Air & Space from 1985 to 2005. He is currently an inactive pilot, but holds a commercial pilot's license, with instrument and multi-engine ratings. He is between airplanes at this time, but has owned or operated a Grumman American AA-5B Tiger and a Mooney 201. He has been writing about aviation since 1972, when he joined the staff of Flying Magazine.

    This SR-71 Blackbird Set the Absolute Speed Record That Still Stands

    Throughout its nearly 24-year career, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3-strategic reconnaissance aircraft remained the world’s fastest and highest-flying operational aircraft. From 80,000 feet, it could survey 100,000 square miles of Earth’s surface per hour.

    So it comes as no surprise if, thanks to its astonishing flight characteristics, the aircraft has set numerous speed and altitude records throughout its career.

    In July 1976, three US Air Force (USAF) aircrews, flying the Mach 3+ SR-71 high altitude reconnaissance aircraft, set three absolute world aviation records—the maximum performance by any type of aircraft—in two days. As explained by Jeff Rhodes in his Code One Magazine article Absolute Blackbirds, those marks still stand. One record, Absolute Speed, is still officially recognized as the fastest speed humans have ever traveled in an aircraft.

    The keeping of aviation records goes back to October 1905 when representatives from eight countries, including the U.S., met in Paris to form the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, or FAI. The FAI later became the world governing body for official aircraft—and later, spacecraft—records and to supervise sport aviation competitions. The National Aeronautic Association, or NAA, is the U.S. representative to the FAI.

    A year after the FAI was formed, the first officially recognized records were set. Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont flew his box kite-like aircraft, called 14-bis, over a really small closed course—a circle of 25.8 feet—in Bagatelle, France, on 14 September 1906. That November, Santos-Dumont increased the closed course distance record to 733 feet and set the first recognized speed record—25.6 mph.

    Seventy years later, USAF officials wanted to make a special, notable flight with the SR-71 to celebrate the US Bicentennial. An around-the-world speed flight was considered first but rejected. “We then looked at what could be accomplished on a typical training sortie,” said Al Joersz, who, as an Air Force captain in 1976, was chief of SR-71 standardization/evaluation for the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (SRW) at Beale AFB in northern California, where the now-retired SR-71s were based.

    Looking through the record book, unit officials determined there were three existing absolute records that their Blackbirds could break—Speed Over A Closed Circuit, Altitude In Horizontal Flight, and Speed Over A 15/25 Kilometer Straight Course.

    “Jim Sullivan, our squadron operations officer and the pilot who set the New York-to-London speed record in the SR-71 in 1974, came to me and told me I was going to set the absolute speed record,” noted Joersz. “We had several crews deployed, so the most experienced crews we had on hand were picked.” Because of the intense crew coordination required, SR-71s were always flown by dedicated two-man crews.

    Beale’s wing mission planning organization coordinated the flights, working with both the FAA and NAA. “We flew the mission a couple of times in the simulator,” recalled Joersz. “That sim was all analog—our moving map consisted of a scrolling paper map—but it did prepare crews for flights.”

    Approvals for the planned Fourth of July flight date were not granted in time, but all was ready by month’s end. The flights began and ended at Beale, but speed and altitude measurement took place on the instrumented ranges at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB in southern California.

    Maj. Pat Bledsoe, the wing chief of standardization/evaluation (the wing then—as now—also operated the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft), and his reconnaissance systems officer, or RSO, Maj. John Fuller, were first up on 27 July, aiming to break the Speed Over a Closed Course record. Like for Santos-Dumont, a giant circle set the outer boundaries of the 1,000 km (621 mile) closed course. Bledsoe flew Blackbird 958, Air Force serial number 61-7958, on six straight-line paths, essentially circumscribing the inside of circle, entering and leaving the track at the same point. He completed the course at a speed of 2,092.29 mph, easily breaking the 1,852.61 mph record set by Mikhail Komarov in the E-266, a highly modified Soviet MiG-25, in 1967.

    Unfortunately, scattered clouds over Edwards later that day negated both the Altitude in Horizontal Flight attempt by Capt. Bob Helt and his backseater, Capt. Larry Elliott, and the Absolute Speed record run by Joersz and his RSO, Maj. George Morgan. “For the Absolute Speed record, the rules say that the aircraft’s altitude can’t vary by more than 150 feet from the assigned altitude over the course,” noted Joersz. “Once the clouds came in, altitude couldn’t be measured accurately from the ground. So we flew again the next day.”

    On 28 July, Helt and Elliott had a problem with their assigned aircraft, so they hopped into another SR-71, serial number 61-7963, to set the sustained altitude record. The key to setting this mark was quickly accelerating and holding the aircraft steady at altitude. Wilbur Wright had set the world’s first altitude record of eighty-two feet on Nov. 13, 1908. The record Helt and Elliott set was more than three orders of magnitude better—85,069 feet, easily beating the previous record of 80,257 feet set in May 1965 by USAF Col. R. L. Stevens in a YF-12, one of the SR-71’s predecessors

    To set the Absolute Speed record, Joersz and Morgan, flying in Blackbird 958, had to cross the electronic timing gate, travel the twenty-five kilometer course, cross a second timing gate, turn around, and repeat the course from the opposite end to negate the effect of winds. The crew had an unstart—Blackbird-speak for an engine shutdown—just after crossing the timing gate on the second leg while flying at a speed of Mach 3.3.

    “On an unstart, the aircraft yaws and the nose pitches up,” Joersz noted. “There is a five-step checklist to get the engine relit. I knew I had to keep the nose down to stay in the 150-foot box, so that’s what I concentrated on. By the time we’d gone through the checklist, we’d already passed the second gate. Still, we exited the gate at Mach 3.2.”

    The officially recorded average speed of the two legs was 2,193.16 mph, besting the previous mark of 2,070.101 mph also set by Stevens in the YF-12. While the SR-71 was operational, several pilots flew the Blackbird faster than the official record but not during sanctioned record attempts.

    “The records weren’t a big deal at the time,” said Joersz. “I was just happy to fly the aircraft. I flew an instructional sortie the next day.” The SR-71 speed and altitude marks were quickly certified as world records. The three crews went to the Paris Air Show the following year to receive commemorative medallions from the FAI.

    In 2006, the FAI reduced the number of absolute records to the best-ever performance without qualification—speed, altitude, greatest payload, and distance. The records set by Bledsoe and Helt are now classified as Class C and C-1, Landplane records, meaning they still exist, but have been moved off the first page of the official record book.

    “One of our maintainers came up to me after the record flight and said, ‘This is the flight people will remember. It’ll last a long time,’ ” recalled Joersz, who rose to the rank of major general and later had a twelve-year career in advanced development with Lockheed Martin before retiring in 2010. “After our flights, the emphasis in aerospace as a whole shifted from speed and altitude to maneuverability and stealth.”

    New dumpling eating record set at New York festival

    A new speed eating benchmark was established at the weekend when a new record was set for most dumplings eaten in two minutes during a food festival in New York.

    Local resident Seth Grudberg managed to guzzle an incredible 18 of the Asian appetizers within the allotted time period during a contest at the 3 rd Annual Tang's Natural Dumpling Festival in downtown Manhattan.

    Speed eating competitions have become a fixture of the festival over the past few years, but this year organisers Chef One, a local Asian food company, decided to see if any contestants could officially set a Guinness World Records title.

    With dumpling eating a new category for Guinness World Records, a minimum target was set at eight dumplings being eaten in two minutes for a record to be set.

    The guidelines for this record state that contenders are not permitted to drink any water during the attempt or use any condiments on the dumplings.

    Additionally, the dumplings have to be consumed one at a time - participants had to open their mouths following each dumpling to show the previous one was completely swallowed.

    Twelve brave visitors to the festival decided to participate in the attempt and were brought out in 3 groups of 4.

    The amount of dumplings consumed by the participants ranged from seven to an amazing 17, but no one could match Seth's record breaking display.

    While he mortgage loan processor is new to speed eating, he has already achieved some early success with his new-found talent.

    "I recently last month entered my first eating contest, at Fairway on the Upper West Side and won a $100 gift card for eating 50 blueberry pancakes in 10 minutes", he revealed.

    Seth, who only found out about the competition the day before, admitted setting a world record had fulfilled a lifelong dream

    "I entered the contest because I grew up reading the Guinness World Records book every year, but I never dreamed I would hold a world record - it feels amazingly great."

    This year's festival featured dumplings from all over the world, showcasing regional variations from Korea, Ukraine, China, India, France, Italy, Portugal and America.

    Visitors paid a fee to sample the wide variety of pot stickers, with all proceeds going to the Food Bank For New York City.

    Pair break speed record climbing Nose of Yosemite's El Capitan

    1 of 23 El Capitan aglow in the late afternoon sun at Yosemite National Park, on Friday May 11, 2012. Visitors to California national parks may notice more trash on trails, longer lines at service booths and fewer rangers this summer as the pinch of the federal government's budget problems grow increasingly difficult to overlook. Michael Macor / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

    2 of 23 Hans Florine, 44, of Lafayette, Calif., heads up the lower face of El Capitan. Florine held the previous speed record for climbing up the Nose of the internationally famous granite cliff known as El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Michael Maloney/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

    5 of 23 From Bennetville ghost town area near Sierra Crest, looking toward 13,053-foot Mount Dana above Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park Richard Degraffenreid Show More Show Less

    7 of 23 From Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park, the Pacific Crest Trail is routed north, nearly flat, much of it along the headwaters of the Tuolumne River, which pretzels its way through the meadow -- the same water you drink in San Francisco Richard Degraffenreid Show More Show Less

    8 of 23 The Tuolumne River then begins its descent west through granite past Glen Aulin Richard Degraffenreid Show More Show Less

    10 of 23 Afternoon thunderstorms build: From Olmstead Point near Tioga Lake on Tioga Road last week, you can taken in the front country of peaks above Tuolumne Meadows toward Polly Dome and Tioga Pass Richard Degraffenreid Show More Show Less

    11 of 23 At dusk on Sierra crest last weekend, when dusk's alpenglow sent refracted colors through building cumulus Richard Degraffenreid Show More Show Less

    13 of 23 Spring is arriving in the high country, where deer are feeding in meadow below 10,912-foot Cathedral Peak and 10,910-foot Unicorn Peak Richard Degraffenreid Show More Show Less

    14 of 23 10,910-foot Unicorn Peak in Yosemite's back country, located near Cathedral Peak, where the meadows below are within range of day hikes Richard Degraffenreid Show More Show Less

    16 of 23 Embedded snow is buried in the pockets beneath the west-facing ridges of the high Sierra crest in Yosemite Richard Degraffenreid Show More Show Less

    17 of 23 This gap in the Sierra crest, Mono Pass, provides a glimpse below of Mono Lake and beyond across the Nevada desert Richard Degraffenreid Show More Show Less

    19 of 23 First glimpse of Bennetville ghost town on trail near the east side from Tioga Pass Richard Degraffenreid Show More Show Less

    20 of 23 Vintage cabin from 1880s in Bennetville, where miners hope to find silver when they dug an 1,800-foot tunnel Richard Degraffenreid Show More Show Less

    22 of 23 Cabin settlement at Bennetville -- the route to the mining settlement, the Great Sierra Wagon Road, eventually became Highway 120 Richard Degraffenreid Show More Show Less

    On long climbs, Brad Gobright usually lets his mind wander &mdash to his favorite television shows, a song stuck on repeat in his head, food, friends and memories.

    But on Saturday, as Gobright and his climbing partner, Jim Reynolds, attempted to scale one of the world&rsquos most famous and dangerous verticals in record-breaking time, there was no room for even a second of distraction.

    It could have cost him precious time &mdash or, worse, his life.

    Gobright and Reynolds set a new speed record on the Nose route of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park on Saturday, climbing the nearly 90-degree 2,900-foot precipice in 2 hours and 19 minutes. That&rsquos four minutes faster than the previous record set five years ago.

    &ldquoThe big thing that Jim and I were worried about was that to some extent you have to kind of put safety behind you when you&rsquore trying to move that fast,&rdquo Gobright, 29, said in an interview Sunday. &ldquoIt requires a lot of focus, much more than a regular climb. Speed climbing requires your full attention.&rdquo

    Just 10 days earlier, a friend of theirs, Quinn Brett, suffered paralyzing spinal injuries when she fell 100 feet off the Boot Flake feature of the Nose and landed on boulders below. She, too, was attempting to climb the route in a day, though not for a speed record.

    Reynolds and Gobright had originally planned to attempt their record-setting climb the next day, but postponed after learning of Brett&rsquos fall.

    &ldquoI worry about people up there,&rdquo said Ken Yager, the president and founder of the Yosemite Climbing Association. &ldquoIt&rsquos a very dangerous pursuit. Especially when you add speed to the mix.&rdquo

    More than two dozen people have been killed on El Capitan since 1905. Yager, who used to lead climbs up the Nose, said it typically takes three days to complete the ascent, which tops out at 7,569 feet above sea level.

    The conditions Saturday were less than ideal. The air was tinged with smoke, pushed into the Yosemite Valley by winds from the north. The route was crowded with climbers, more than Gobright had ever seen in his nearly 30 times up the Nose.

    They weren&rsquot sure they would make it. But they decided they had to try.

    To maximize their speed, they ditched camming devices meant to prevent falls and whatever weighty gear they could live without. They didn&rsquot pack food or water.

    After two hours of heavy breathing, Gobright said, he could feel the smoke affecting him. His throat was scratchy, his mouth dry.

    Yager and other rock-climbing experts said what pushed Gobright and Reynolds over the speed record was their strategy in the climb&rsquos final stretch: The two men ascended nearly simultaneously, foregoing the usual practice of having one climber go on ahead of the other.

    &ldquoIf you&rsquove got two fast people and they can climb together, that&rsquos how you get the fastest time,&rdquo Yager said. &ldquoWith a standard ascent you&rsquoll have a lot more gear, and you&rsquoll use a lot more of that gear. (Gobright and Reynolds) had about one piece of gear between them and the ground.&rdquo

    When they reached the top, Gobright said, they could hear the cheers of a crowd of friends, family and supporters gathered on the meadow below. Five minutes later, he said, his phone beeped with the receipt of a new message.

    It was from Hans Florine, the previous record holder. He was sending his congratulations.

    Florine and Alex Honnold climbed the Nose in 2 hours and 23 minutes in June 2012. Florine, now 53, has set eight speed records for his climbs up the Nose since 1990.

    Gobright, who has been climbing since he was 7 years old, said the Nose has always held a special appeal for him. But it wasn&rsquot until a year and a half ago, on his first climb with Reynolds, that he thought he might be a contender for the speed record.

    &ldquoBefore Jim and I were trying to go for the record, we&rsquod just do it fast so we&rsquod have time to do more climbs before the sun went down,&rdquo he said. &ldquoThinking we could try for the record seemed crazy at first. It was this really big, big goal that seemed kind of out of reach. I think that&rsquos why we wanted to do it.&rdquo

    Land speed (fastest car)

    The official land-speed record (measured over one mile) is 1,227.985 km/h (763.035 mi/h) (Mach 1.020), set by Andy Green (UK) on 15 October 1997 in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA, in Thrust SSC.

    Although Thrust SSC is the first car to break the sound barrier, it is alleged that Budweiser Rocket Car, driven by Stan Barrett (US), reached a speed of 1,190.377 km/h (739.666 mi/h) at Edwards Air Force Base, California, USA, on 17 December 17 1979. However, the published speed of Mach 1.0106 was not officially sanctioned by the USAF, as the Digital Instrument Radar was not calibrated or certified. The radar information was not generated using the vehicle directly but by an operator aiming aiming a dish using a TV screen.

    The car is powered by two Rolls-Royce Spey 202 jet engines which generate 222 kN (50,000 lb) of thrust.

    All records listed on our website are current and up-to-date. For a full list of record titles, please use our Record Application Search. (You will need to register / login for access)