Monday, March 07, 2005

Limits of Round the World Travel

Log Scale

Linear Scale

I ran across an interesting website,, with the history of around the world travel.
Just for fun, I plotted the times of various milestone flights over the years.
My conclusion: We really have not made any significant advance in flight speed technology since the 1930's. The world speed records have really not changed significantly since Howard Hughes 1938 speed record of 91 hours. There are two graphs shown here: one is linear scale, the other is log scale so you can see the more recent values.
I have left out the speed of orbital flights. John Glenn broke the RTW speed record in 1962 of 4 Hrs and 55 mins. It seems that orbital travel is the only way to get another major improvement in speeds.

Have we reached the 'Human' limit of earth atmospheric travel?



At 3/07/2005 05:59:00 PM, Blogger Prospector said...

Flight year total hours
First round-the-world flight of any kind (made by two biplanes) 1924 4200.0
Airship flight Graf Zeppelin 1929 484.0
Post & Gatty 1931 207.9
Solo plane flight Wiley Post 1933 186.8
Fastest Passenger 1936 443.8
Howard Hughes RTW speed record 1938 91.2
Odom solo record 1947 73.1
Nonstop plane flight (with four aerial refuelings) 1949 94.0
Nonstop jet plane flight B-52 1957 45.3
RTW race 1972 57.6
RTW learjet Arnold Palmer 1976 57.4
Nonstop plane flight without refueling (at 115 m.p.h.) 1986 216.1
Concorde Speed Record 1995 31.5
Boeing 777 1997 42.0
Solo nonstop jet flight 2005 67.0


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