Plane Facts: Military Aircraft

Facts and tidbits about the history and development of military aircraft.

Vickers Type 56 Victoria

First military aircraft in history: Wright Model A, 1909
Top speed: 42 mph
Top speed of modern military aircraft: Mach 3.32 (2,455 mph)
Model: Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
Hourly cost to operate: $85,000
Purpose: Spy on Russia
Irony: Built out of Russian titanium
Retired: 1999

First aircraft to officially break sound barrier: Bell X-1
Pilot: Chuck Yeager, October 14, 1947
Date Yeager repeated the feat: October 14, 1997
Age at flight: 89

Fighter that accidentally shot itself down: Grumman F11 Tiger
Date of the oops: September 21, 1956
Reason for the oops: Flew faster than its own bullets

Biggest military plane ever built: Hughes H-4 Hercules
Aircraft material: Wood
Weight: 300,000 pounds
Successful flights: 1
Time airborne: 26 seconds

Biggest USAF transport plane: C-5M Super Galaxy
Max takeoff weight: 381 tons
Helicopters able to carry: 5
Cruise speed: 518 mph

Oldest U.S. military aerial demonstration team: Blue Angels
Formed: 1946
Named after: Blue Angel nightclub in NYC
Aircraft types: 8
Original: Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat
Current: F/A-18 Hornet, since 1986
Highest speed flown at airshows: 700 mph
Altitude of maneuver: 50 feet
G-suits worn by crew: 0

Most widely produced Western fighter: F-16 Fighting Falcon
Number built: 4,604
Cost per plane: $14.6 million to $18.8 million
Most expensive: Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit
Cost: $2.1 billion
Flight cost/hour: $135,000
Role: Stealth bomber


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