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Flight altitude record

This listing of flight altitude records are the records set for the highest aeronautical flights conducted in the atmosphere, set since the age of ballooning.

Some, but not all of the records were certified by the non-profit international aviation organization, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). One reason for a lack of 'official' certification was that the flight occurred prior to the creation of the FAI.[1]

For clarity, the "Fixed-wing aircraft" table is sorted by FAI-designated categories as determined by whether the record-creating aircraft left the ground by its own power (category "Altitude"), or whether it was first carried aloft by a carrier-aircraft prior to its record setting event (category "Altitude gain", or formally "Altitude Gain, Aeroplane Launched from a Carrier Aircraft"). Other sub-categories describe the airframe, and more importantly, the powerplant type (since rocket-powered aircraft can have greater altitude abilities than those with air-breathing engines).[1]

An essential requirement for the creation of an "official" altitude record is the employment of FAI-certified observers present during the record-setting flight.[1] Thus several records noted are unofficial due to the lack of such observers.

These aviation-related lists are incomplete; you can help by expanding them with more items referenced to reliable sources.

Balloons

File:Bundesarchiv Bild 102-11505, Vorbereitung für Stratosphären-Flug.jpg
In 1931, Auguste Piccard and Paul Kipfer (photo) reached a record altitude of 15,781 m. In 1932, Auguste Piccard and Max Cosyns made a second record-breaking ascent to 16,201 m. Auguste Piccard ultimately made a total of twenty-seven balloon flights, setting a final record of 23,000 m.
  • 1783—15 August—Script error: No such module "convert".; Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier of France, made the first ascent in a hot-air balloon.
  • 1783-19 October-Script error: No such module "convert".; Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, in Paris.
  • 1783-19 October-Script error: No such module "convert".; Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier with André Giroud de Villette, in Paris.
  • 1783-21 November-Script error: No such module "convert".; Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier with Marquis d'Arlandes, in Paris.
  • 1783—1 December 1783—Script error: No such module "convert".; Jacques Alexandre Charles and his assistant Marie-Noël Robert, both of France, made the first flight in a hydrogen balloon to about 610 m. Charles then ascended alone to the record altitude.
  • 1784—Script error: No such module "convert". Pilâtre de Rozier and the chemist Joseph Proust in a Montgolfier.
  • 1803—18 July 1803—Script error: No such module "convert". Étienne-Gaspard Robert and Auguste Lhoëst in a balloon.
  • 1839—Script error: No such module "convert". Charles Green and Spencer Rush in a free balloon.
  • 1862—5 September 1862— about Script error: No such module "convert".Henry Coxwell and James Glaisher in a coal-gas balloon. Glaisher lost consciousness during the ascent due to the low air pressure and cold temperature of Script error: No such module "convert"..
  • 1927—4 November 1927—Script error: No such module "convert".—Captain Hawthorne C. Gray of the (United States Army Air Corps) in a helium balloon. Gray was killed when his oxygen supply ran out.
  • 1931—27 May 1931—Script error: No such module "convert".Auguste Piccard & Paul Kipfer in a hydrogen balloon.
  • 1932—Script error: No such module "convert". —Auguste Piccard and Max Cosyns in a hydrogen balloon.
  • 1933—30 September—Script error: No such module "convert". USSR balloon USSR-1.
  • 1933—20 November—Script error: No such module "convert". Lt. Comdr. Thomas G. W. Settle (USN) and Maj Chester L. Fordney (USMC) in Century of Progress balloon
  • 1934—30 January—Script error: No such module "convert". USSR balloon Osoaviakhim-1. The three crew were killed when the balloon broke up during the descent.
  • 1935—10 November—Script error: No such module "convert". Captain O. A. Anderson and Captain A. W. Stevens (United States Army Air Corps) ascended in the Explorer II gondola from the Stratobowl, near Rapid City, South Dakota, for a flight that lasted 8 hours 13 minutes and covered Script error: No such module "convert"..
  • 1956—8 November—Script error: No such module "convert". Malcolm D. Ross and M. L. Lewis (United States Navy) in Office of Naval Research Strato-Lab I, using a pressurized gondola and plastic balloon launching near Rapid City, South Dakota, and landing Script error: No such module "convert". away near Kennedy, Nebraska.
  • 1957—2 June—Script error: No such module "convert". Captain Joseph W. Kittinger (United States Air Force) ascended in the Manhigh 1 gondola to a record-breaking altitude.
  • 1957—19 August—Script error: No such module "convert". above sea level, Major David Simons (United States Air Force) ascended from the Portsmouth Mine near Crosby, Minnesota in the Manhigh 2 gondola for a 32-hour record-breaking flight. Simons landed at 5:32 PM on 20 August in northeast South Dakota.
  • 1960—16 August— In testing a high altitude parachute system, Joseph Kittinger parachuted from Excelsior III over New Mexico at Script error: No such module "convert".. He set world records for: high-altitude jump; free-fall by falling Script error: No such module "convert". before opening his parachute; and fastest speed achieved by a human without motorized assistance, Script error: No such module "convert"..[2]
  • 1961—4 May—Script error: No such module "convert".; Commander Malcolm D. Ross and Lieutenant Commander Victor A. Prather, Jr. (US Navy) in Strato-Lab V, using an unpressurized gondola. After descending, the gondola containing the two balloonists landed in the Gulf of Mexico. Prather slipped off the rescue helicopter's hook into the ocean and drowned.[lower-alpha 1]
  • 1966— Amateur parachute jumper Nicholas Piantanida (USA) reached Script error: No such module "convert". with his Strato Jump II balloon but due to being unable to disconnect his oxygen line from the main capsule's feed he was forced to detach the balloon from the capsule, abort the jump and return in the capsule without the balloon. Due to his glove's design, he was also unable to reattach his safety harnesses and endured very great G forces but survived the descent. Piantanida's ascent is not recognized by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale as a balloon altitude world record.
  • 2012—14 October – Felix Baumgartner in Red Bull Stratos reached Script error: No such module "convert". on a balloon starting near Roswell, New Mexico, USA, and returned to Earth by a parachute jump.
  • 2014—24 October – Alan Eustace, a senior vice president at Google, reached Script error: No such module "convert". on a balloon and returned to Earth by a parachute jump.[4]

Hot air balloons

Year Date Altitude Person Aircraft Notes
imperial metric
2004 December 13, 2004 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert". David Hempleman-Adams Boland Rover A-2 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale record for hot air balloon as of 2007
1783 15 October 1783 Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert". Pilâtre de Rozier Montgolfier tethered balloon

On November 26, 2005, Vijaypat Singhania set the world altitude record for highest hot air balloon flight, reaching Script error: No such module "convert".. He launched from downtown Bombay, India and landed Script error: No such module "convert". south in Panchale. The previous record of Script error: No such module "convert". had been set by Per Lindstrand on June 6, 1988 in Plano, Texas.[citation needed]

Unmanned gas balloon

During 1893 French scientist Jules Richard constructed sounding balloons. These unmanned balloons, carrying light, but very precise instruments, approached an altitude of 50,000 feet (15,240 meters).[5]

The U.S. (and for a while, the world) altitude record for unmanned balloons was Script error: No such module "convert". (according to a 1991 edition of Guinness Book of World Records). The vehicle was a Winzen-Balloon with a volume of 1.35 million cubic metres, which was launched during October 1972 in Chico, California, USA.[citation needed]

During 2002 an ultra-thin-film balloon named BU60-1 made of polyethylene film 3.4 µm thick with a volume of 60,000 m³ was launched from Sanriku Balloon Center at Ofunato City, Iwate in Japan at 6:35 on May 23, 2002. The balloon ascended at a speed of 260 m per minute and successfully reached the altitude of Script error: No such module "convert"., breaking the previous world record set during 1972.[6]

Gliders

The highest altitude obtained in an unpowered aircraft is Script error: No such module "convert". on 30 August 2006 by Steve Fossett (pilot) and Einar Enevoldson (co-pilot) in their high performance research glider, a modified DG-500.[7] This record was set as part of the Perlan Project.[8] The previous record was Script error: No such module "convert". on February 17, 1986 by Robert Harris using lee waves over California City, USA.[7]

Fixed-wing aircraft

Year Date Altitude Person Aircraft Propulsion Notes
Imperial Metric
1890 October 8 8 in 20 cm Clément Ader Éole propeller First true aeroplane, yet uncontrolled
1903 December 17 10 ft 3 m Wilbur Wright, Orville Wright Wright Flyer propeller Photographed and witnessed unofficially.
1906 October 23 Script error: No such module "convert". Alberto Santos-Dumont 14-bis propeller First officially witnessed and certified uncontrolled flight.
1906 November 12 Script error: No such module "convert". Alberto Santos-Dumont 14-bis propeller
1908 December 18 Script error: No such module "convert". Wilbur Wright Biplane propeller at Auovors
1909 July Script error: No such module "convert". Louis Paulhan Farman propeller Douai Air Show
1909 Script error: No such module "convert". Louis Paulhan Farman propeller Lyon
1910 January 9 Script error: No such module "convert". Louis Paulhan Farman propeller Los Angeles air meet[9]
1910 June 17 Script error: No such module "convert". Walter Brookins Wright biplane propeller [10]
1910 October 30 Script error: No such module "convert". Ralph Johnstone Wright biplane propeller International Aviation Tournament was at the Belmont Park race track in Elmont, New York[11]
1912 September 11 Script error: No such module "convert". Roland Garros Blériot monoplane propeller Saint-Brieuc (France) [12]
1915 January 5 Script error: No such module "convert". Joseph Eugene Carberry Curtiss Model E propeller [13]
1916 November 9 Script error: No such module "convert". Guido Guidi Caudron G.4 propeller Torino Mirafiori airfield[14]
1919 June 14 Script error: No such module "convert". Jean Casale Nieuport NiD.29 propeller [15][16]
1920 February 27 Script error: No such module "convert". Major Rudolf Schroeder LUSAC-11 propeller [17][18]
1921 September 18 Script error: No such module "convert". Lieutenant John Arthur Macready LUSAC-11 propeller [19]
1923 September 5 Script error: No such module "convert". Joseph Sadi-Lecointe Nieuport NiD.40R propeller [20][21]
1923 October 30 Script error: No such module "convert". Joseph Sadi-Lecointe Nieuport NiD.40R propeller [21][22]
1924 October 21 Script error: No such module "convert". Jean Callizo Gourdou-Leseurre 40 C.1 propeller [23] Callizo later claimed several higher records which were then stripped from him as he had falsified barograph readings.[24][25]
1930 June 4 Script error: No such module "convert". Lieutenant Apollo Soucek, USN Wright Apache propeller [26]
1932 September 16 Script error: No such module "convert". Cyril Uwins Vickers Vespa propeller [27]
1933 September 28 Script error: No such module "convert". Gustave Lemoine Potez 506 propeller [28]
1934 April 11 Script error: No such module "convert". Renato Donati Caproni Ca.113 propeller [29][30]
1936 August 14 Script error: No such module "convert". Georges Détré Potez 506 propeller highest with no pressure suit[31]
1936 September 28 Script error: No such module "convert". Squadron Leader Francis Ronald Swain Bristol Type 138 propeller [32]
1938 June 30 Script error: No such module "convert". M. J. Adam Bristol Type 138 propeller [32]
1938 October 22 Script error: No such module "convert". Lieutenant Colonel Mario Pezzi Caproni Ca.161 manned propeller biplane record to date [33]
1948 March 23 Script error: No such module "convert". John Cunningham de Havilland Vampire Turbojet Modified Vampire F.1 with extended wingtips and de Havilland Ghost engine.[34][35]
1951 August 15 Script error: No such module "convert". Bill Bridgeman Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket Payload Deployed Rocket Plane Unofficial record. Powered by the XLR-11 liquid fuel rocket engine (designated as XLR8-RM-5).
1953 May 4 Script error: No such module "convert". Walter Frame Gibb English Electric Canberra B.2 Turbojet fitted with two Rolls-Royce Olympus engines.[36]
1953 August 21 Script error: No such module "convert". Lt. Col. Marion Carl Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket Payload Deployed Rocket Plane Unofficial record. Powered by the XLR-11 liquid fuel rocket engine (designated as XLR8-RM-5).
1954 May 28 Script error: No such module "convert". Arthur W. Murray Bell X-1A Payload Deployed Rocket Plane Unofficial record. Powered by the XLR-11 liquid fuel rocket engine.[37]
1955 August 29 Script error: No such module "convert". Walter Frame Gibb English Electric Canberra B.2 Turbojet Olympus powered.[38]
1956 September 7 Script error: No such module "convert". Iven Kincheloe Bell X-2 Payload Deployed Rocket Plane [39]
1957 August 28 Script error: No such module "convert". Mike Randrup English Electric Canberra B.2 Turbojet/rocket With Scorpion Rocket Motor
1958 April 18 Script error: No such module "convert". Lieutenant Commander George C. Watkins F11F-1F Tiger Turbojet [40]
1958 May 2 Script error: No such module "convert". Roger Carpentier SNCASO Trident II Turbojet + rocket
1958 May 7 Script error: No such module "convert". Major Howard C. Johnson Lockheed F-104 Starfighter Turbojet The F-104 became the first aircraft to simultaneously hold the world speed and altitude records when on 16 May 1958, U.S. Air Force Capt Walter W. Irwin set a world speed record of 1,404.19 mph
1959 September 4 Script error: No such module "convert". Vladimir Ilyushin Sukhoi Su-9 Turbojet
1959 December 6 Script error: No such module "convert". Commander Lawrence E. Flint, Jr. McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II Turbojet
1959 December 14 Script error: No such module "convert". Capt "Joe" B. Jordan Lockheed F-104 Starfighter J79 Turbojet
1961 April 28 Script error: No such module "convert". Giorgii Mosolov Ye-66A Mig-21 R-11 Turbojet
1962 July 17 Script error: No such module "convert". Robert Michael White X-15 Payload Deployed Rocket Plane Not a C-1 FAI record
1963 July 19 Script error: No such module "convert". Joseph Albert Walker X-15 Payload Deployed Rocket Plane Not a C-1 FAI record.
1963 August 22 Script error: No such module "convert". Joseph Albert Walker X-15 Payload Deployed Rocket Plane Not a C-1 FAI record
1963 November 15 Script error: No such module "convert". Major Robert W. Smith Lockheed NF-104A Turbojet + rocket Unofficial altitude record for aircraft with self powered take off.
1963 December 6 Script error: No such module "convert". Major Robert W. Smith Lockheed NF-104A Turbojet + rocket Unofficial altitude record for aircraft with self powered take off.
1973 July 25 Script error: No such module "convert". A. Fedotov Soviet Ye-266 Jet plane record Under Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) classification the Ye-155 type
1977 August 31 Script error: No such module "convert". A. Fedotov Soviet Ye-266 Jet plane record Under Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) classification the Ye-155 type
1995 August 4 Script error: No such module "convert". Grob Strato 2C manned propeller monoplane record to date
2001 August 14 Script error: No such module "convert". Unmanned NASA Helios HP01 propeller Set altitude records for propeller driven aircraft, solar-electric aircraft, and highest altitude in horizontal flight by a winged aircraft.
2004 October 4 Script error: No such module "convert". Brian Binnie SpaceShipOne Payload Deployed rocket plane

Piston-driven propeller aeroplane

The highest altitude obtained by a piston-driven propeller UAV (without payload) is Script error: No such module "convert".. It was obtained during 1988–1989 by the Boeing Condor UAV.[41]

The highest altitude obtained in a piston-driven propeller biplane (without a payload) was Script error: No such module "convert". on October 22, 1938 by Mario Pezzi at Montecelio, Italy in a Caproni Ca.161 driven by a Piaggio XI R.C. engine.[42]

The highest altitude obtained in a piston-driven propeller monoplane (without a payload) was Script error: No such module "convert". on August 4, 1995 by the Grob Strato 2C driven by two Teledyne Continental TSIO-550 engines.

Jet aircraft

The highest current world absolute general aviation altitude record -General Aviation World Records- achieved by a manned Airbreathing jet engine propelled aircraft is Script error: No such module "convert". set by Alexandr Fedotov, in a Mikoyan Gurevitch E-266M (MiG-25M), on 31 August 1977.

Rocket plane

The highest altitude obtained by a manned aeroplane (launched from another aircraft) is Script error: No such module "convert". by Brian Binnie in the Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne (powered by a Scaled Composite SD-010 engine with Script error: No such module "convert". of thrust) on 4 October 2004 at Mojave, CA. The previous (unofficial) record was Script error: No such module "convert". set by Joseph A. Walker in an North American X-15 in mission X-15 Flight 91 on August 22, 1963. Walker had reached 106 km - crossing the Kármán line the first time - with X-15 Flight 90 the previous month.

The highest altitude obtained by a Rocket-powered aircraft (self-launched—i.e. not launched from another aircraft) was Script error: No such module "convert". on May 2, 1958 by Roger Carpentier over Istres, France in a Sud-Ouest Trident II mixed power (turbojet and rocket engine) aircraft.[43]

Electrically powered aircraft

The highest altitude obtained by an electrically powered aircraft is Script error: No such module "convert". on August 14, 2001 by the NASA Helios, and is the highest altitude in horizontal flight by a winged aircraft. This is also the altitude record for propeller driven aircraft, FAI class U (Experimental / New Technologies), and FAI class U-1.d (Remotely controlled UAV : Weight 500 kg to less than 2'500 kg).[44]

Rotorcraft

On June 21, 1972, Jean Boulet of France piloted an Aérospatiale Lama helicopter to an absolute altitude record of Script error: No such module "convert"..[45] At the extreme altitude the engine flamed out and the helicopter had to be (safely) landed via another record breaker — the longest successful autorotation in history.[46] The helicopter had been stripped of all unnecessary equipment prior to the flight to minimize its weight and the pilot was breathing supplemental oxygen.

Paper airplanes

The highest altitude obtained by a paper plane is currently for the Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) project, which was released at an altitude of Script error: No such module "convert"., from a helium balloon that was launched approximately Script error: No such module "convert". west of Madrid, Spain on 28 October 2010, and recorded by The Register's "special projects bureau". The project achieved a Guinness world record recognition.[47][48]

Cannon rounds

The current world-record for highest cannon projectile flight is held by Project HARP’s 16-inch space gun prototype, which fired a 180 kg Martlet 2 projectile to record height of 180 km (590,550 ft; 110 mi) in Yuma, Arizona, on November 18th, 1966. The projectile’s trajectory briefly sent it into space, making it the first cannon-fired projectile to exit the atmosphere.[49]

The Paris Gun (German: Paris-Geschütz) was a German long-range siege gun used to bombard Paris during World War I. It was in service from March–August 1918. Its 210-pound shells had a range of about Script error: No such module "convert". with a maximum altitude of about Script error: No such module "convert"..

See also

Notes

  1. The FAI Absolute Altitude (#2325) record for balloon flight set in 1961 by Malcolm Ross and Victor Prather is still current, as it requires the balloonist to descend with the balloon.[3]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Maksel, Rebecca (2009-05-29). "Who Holds the Altitude Record For an Airplane?: Depends On the Category—And On Who Was Watching". Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution). Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  2. [1]
  3. The International Air Sports Federation (FAI). "Ballooning World Records". Retrieved 2015-03-20. 
  4. "Alan Eustace Jumps From Stratosphere, Breaking Felix Baumgartner’s World Record". The New York Times. 
  5. http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Lighter_than_air/early_scientific_balloons/LTA7.htm
  6. "Research on Balloon to Float over 50km Altitude". Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, JAXA. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Fédération Aéronautique Internationale — Gliding World Records". Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  8. DG Flugzeugbau GmbH. "Perlan Project". Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  9. "1910 Dominguez Meet – Paulhan". 
  10. Washington Post. June 18, 1910. Indianapolis, Indiana, June 17, 1910. Walter Brookins, in a Wright biplane, broke the world's aeroplane record for altitude today, when he soared to a height of Script error: No such module "convert"., according to the measurement of the altimeter. His motor stopped as he was descending, and he made a glide of Script error: No such module "convert"., landing easily in a wheat field.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. "International Aviation Tournament". Newsday. 
  12. [2]
  13. Aerial Age. 1915. Joseph E. Carberry, who holds the American record for altitude, accompanied by passenger, Capt. B. D. Foulois, Lieut. T. DeWitt Milling, Lieut. Ira A. Rader, Lieut, Carlton G. Chapman ... 
  14. Evangelisti, Giorgio, Gente dell'Aria vol. 6, Ed. Olimpia, 2000
  15. FAI record file #15455.
  16. Rosenthal, Marchand, Borget, Bénichou. Nieuport 1909-1950, Larivière, 1997, ISBN 2907051113.
  17. Owers 1993, p. 51.
  18. Flight 16 December 1920, p. 1274.
  19. Angelucci and Bowers 1987, p. 195.
  20. FAI record file #8246.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Flight 7 February 1924, p. 75.
  22. FAI record file #8223.
  23. "FAI Record ID #8384". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. April 30, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2014. 
  24. "Airisms from the Air: Some "Record"". Flight. Vol. XIX (No. 976): p. 635. September 8, 1927. 
  25. "Macready May Win Record". Popular Science: p. 54. December 1927. 
  26. "World's Records In Aviation". Flight, 20 March 1931, p. 247.
  27. Andrews and Morgan 1988, pp. 205–206.
  28. "The New Altitude Record". Flight, 19 October 1933. p. 1043.
  29. "The World's Aviation Records". Flight, 16 August 1934, p. 844.
  30. Cooper, Ralph. "Renato Donati 1894–". The Early Birds of Aviation. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  31. Détré, Georges. "J'ai piloté le Potez 506 à 15.000m." L'album du fanatique de l'aviation, March 1971. p. 27.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Lewis 1971, p. 485.
  33. Taylor 1965, p. 346.
  34. Bridgman 1951, p. 6b.
  35. Lewis 1971, pp. 327–328.
  36. Lewis 1971, p. 371.
  37. NASA Bell X-1 Fact Sheet
  38. Lewis 1971, p. 389.
  39. "50th Anniversary of Two Historic X-2 Milestones Celebrated," NASA 2006
  40. The New Navy 1954–1959 PDF
  41. http://www.boeing.com/history/boeing/condor.html
  42. http://www.fai.org/fai-record-file/?recordId=11713
  43. "Trident's 79,720ft" (PDF), Flight, 9 May 1958: 623 
  44. "Aviation and Space World Records". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  45. http://records.fai.org/rotorcraft/aircraft.asp?id=188
  46. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=CSmVLrllpKUC&pg=PA151&lpg=PA151&dq=Rotor+%26+Wing+International+Jean+Boulet+autorotation&source=bl&ots=uasuGIHjiL&sig=hjs--XtozWD-hr2bpfHUE0fC7nc&hl=en&ei=b_raS6-LIcqOkQXfoNV8&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Rotor%20%26%20Wing%20International%20Jean%20Boulet%20autorotation&f=false
  47. Guinness World Record certificate
  48. Haines, Lester. PARIS soars to Guinness World Record: Highest paper plane launch ever, 17 February 2012.
  49. Graf, Richard K. "A Brief History of the HARP Project". Encyclopedia Astronautica. astronautix.com. Retrieved 2013-08-14.

Bibliography

External links