For many of us, speed is the ultimate narcotic. Some pilots even regard it as an aphrodisiac that induces a level of pleasure unavailable from any other source. Well, okay, almost any other source.
Trouble is, speed is an elusive and expensive quality. It becomes more and more difficult to achieve as the envelope expands, primarily because drag multiplies as the square of speed. In general-aviation ranks, velocities in excess of the magic 200 knots demand progressively more sophisticated designs. Aeronautical engineers know there are only three ways to make an airplane fly faster. The first and least efficient way is to increase horsepower—least efficient because it may demand higher fuel capacity, which starts the domino chain of less payload, a higher gross weight, more horsepower, more fuel, etc. The second way is to reduce drag, by far the most efficient method of improving performance. The third is to fly higher in thinner air that offers less resistance.