Speed Week: The fastest tech feats of all time
12th Apr 2011 | 00:00
Video guide to some record-breaking speed feats.
1/ Breaking the sound barrier on land
In October 1997 RAF fighter pilot Andy Green guided the Thrust SSC supersonic car past the speed of sound for the first time, smashing his own manned landspeed record. The Thrust SSC, powered by two Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines, averaged 763mph over two runs in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada and the record remains in tact almost 14 years on.
2/ Coming home in a hurry
While Apollo 11 made the giant leap for Mankind and Apollo 13 was immortalised in a Tom Hanks film, Apollo 10 actually made history as the fastest manned space vehicle during its journey back from a test run to the moon in May 1969. Apollo 10 entered the Guiness Book of World Records in 2002 for achieving speeds of 24,791mph on the way home.
3/ Ueli Steck climbs Eiger in under three hours
In February 2008, the Swiss climbing machine, knocked an hour off his own record for climbing the 6,000ft north face of the Eiger mountain at an average speed of 75 feet a minute. He achieved the feat by lightening his equipment and reducing the amount of times he attached to fixed spots for protection. The new mark is 2 hours, 47 minutes and 33 seconds.
4/ Two-wheeled speed demon
Rocky Robinson doesn't just have the best name ever but he's also 'the fastest man in the world on two wheels'. Now a three time world record holder, Robinson posted his latest mark in September last year, reaching a top speed of 394mph, averaging out at 376mph driving the Ack Attack speedliner.
5/ Across the Atlantic in less than three hours
The fastest passenger jet was the much-missed Concorde, which was retired after a fatal accident and a series of cost issues back in 2003. In its pomp Concorde was the queen of the skies and in 1996 clocked its fastest trip between London and New York at just 2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds, with Captain Leslie Scott manning the stick. Beats the seven hours we have to spend travelling the same route these days...
6/ Mach 2? Try Mach 9.6
Concorde might have gotten business bigwigs over the Atlantic in under three hours, at 1,320mph, but the world record for a jet-powered vehicle is a whopping 7,000mph, that's Mach 9.6, almost ten times the speed of sound. The Boeing X-43A, an unmanned, experimental scramble jet, could fly from London to New York in 15 minutes.
7/ Clarkson's bunch had to be in there somewhere...
During a test drive for BBC's Top Gear, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport became the fastest production car on the planet, clocking a time of 267.856mph, 14mph faster than the original Veyron's mark set in 2005. Thankfully, the speed will be limited to a mere 258mph for customer cars.
8/ Who needs a jet powered motor?
Canadian cyclist Sam Whittingham holds the world land-speed record for an unpaced bicycle, travelling on a flat surface at 82.3mph. He's the first and only cyclist to date to have broken the demi-mach barrier and travel at 1/10th the speed of sound. Check out his Varna Diablo III bicycle in the video below, it's not your average Raleigh.
9/ The fastest train on earth
If, like us, you're fed up of spending you're entire sunday waiting for Arriva Trains to get you a couple of hundred miles across the country, then you're going to be even more sick after seeing what this Japanese Maglev train can do. Maglev means magnetically levitated, which means the train virtually floats on air, with magnets keeping it in in the vicinity of the track. Its top speed, posted in 2003 is 581kmph (361mph).
10/ Smashing the next frontier:100mph on land
A group of British engineers is aiming to smash the landspeed record set by the Thrust SSC vehicle and cross the 1000mph barrier with the Bloodhound SSC transonic rocket car currently being built in Bristol. The Bloodhound is currently under contrsuction and should be ready for a crack at the record late this year or in early 2012.