The fastest flight in history of a manned, winged aircraft occurred on October 3, 1967 when the North American X-15A-2 piloted by Air Force Major William J. “Pete” Knight made the 188th flight of the X-15 research program. Air-launched from an NB-52 mothership 35,000 ft. above Edwards Air Force Base, the “A-2” streaked to a peak altitude of 102,000 feet for the speed run, achieving Mach 6.7, or 4,520 mph - a record that stands to this day, being technically exceeded only by the Space Shuttle.Noteworthy of this challenging flight was the aircraft’s white heat-ablative coating, large external tanks, dummy “Scramjet” engine affixed to a stub ventral pylon, an “eyelid” covering the left windshield, and several experimental packages located throughout the airframe. Artist Mike Machat has chosen to depict the exact moment of launch, as the 60,000 - lb. Thrust XLR-99 engine ignites, while fuel vapor streams from the overflow tubes.The original painting, a 30” x 36” oil on canvas, became the first piece of original artwork to be donated to the Edwards Flight Test Center Museum at formal ceremonies on May 21, 1988 in Los Angeles, California. The artist wishes to thank now Colonel “Pete” Knight (USAF, Ret.) and Dr. Jim Young of the Edwards History Office for their invaluable assistance in researching this great moment in aviation history. The special edition size commemorates the ultimate worlds record speed of Mach 6.7EDITION: 670 signed by Col. William J. “Pete” Knight and Mike Machat. SIZE: 19” x 24”
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