NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
YF-12A aircraft on a low-altitude test flight. The US Air Force's YF-12 was the world's fastest jet-powered aircraft, cruising at speeds in excess of 2000 miles per hour (3200 kilometres per hour) and at altitudes over 70,000 feet (21,000 metres). It was an experimental fighter-interceptor version of the Lockheed A-12 aircraft. In Air Force flight tests on May 1, 1965, the YF-12 set a speed record of 2,070 miles per hour and an altitude record of 24,462 metres. First publicly displayed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in 1964, the YF-12 was never adopted by the military as an operational aircraft. It was, however, a precursor to the SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance plane, which surpassed it in speed and altitude.
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