We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Highest Performing Aircraft?

Michael Anissimov
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

What we call the world's highest performing aircraft depends on what category of performance we are looking at: size, speed, or stealth. All of these qualities may be the most useful depending on application.

The world's largest passenger aircraft is the Airbus A380, which can carry up to 853 people in economy class configuration. The Airbus is so huge that the nickname "Superjumbo" was made for it, and it can only land in specially-designed airports. So far, the vehicle has only flown for test and show flights, but it is ready to enter service in late 2007 or early 2008.

There are several extremely fast aircraft. Which you call the fastest depends on your definition of "aircraft," but generally an aircraft must 1) be able to take off unassisted, 2) work in the lower atmosphere, and 3) land unassisted. The fastest craft, scramjets that operate high in the atmosphere, do not meet this definition, however they can be extremely fast. The fastest scramjet yet flown is the Boeing X-43A, which set a speed record of 7,546 mph (12,144 km/h), or Mach 9.8, on 16 November 2004. The fastest true aircraft is the SR-71 Blackbird, which reached a speed of 2,188 mph (3,521 km/h), or Mach 2.8, on 28 July 1976. Various rockets have reached speeds in the Mach 5-7 range, but these cannot take off or land on their own. The fastest aircraft is technically the Space Shuttle, but again, it cannot take off on its own, and achieves its top speeds out of the earth's atmosphere.

The title of world's stealthiest aircraft is a toss-up between the F-22 Raptor and the B-2 Spirit bomber. One could argue that the F-22 Raptor is stealthier because it is smaller and therefore probably harder to detect. Both are extremely advanced and expensive aircraft used by the United States military. They do not appear on radar, but must be spotted visually. The Joint Strike Fighter, currently under development by the US and UK, will also be a highly stealthy craft, and its updated design will probably make it even harder to detect than either the F-22 Raptor or the B-2 Spirit.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated WikiMotors contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.
Discussion Comments
By anon22401 — On Dec 03, 2008

As to fastest, is there any confirmation, anywhere of the Aurora - the supposed replacement for the SR-71?

By anon6695 — On Jan 07, 2008

It's my guess that the B-2 will remain a stealthier craft than the F-22. The B-2 was designed almost completely, if not completely with stealth in mind. Speed was sacrificed to a ridiculous degree (it's about as fast as an A-10) and maneuverability is compromised for lack of tail. By comparison, stealth is A) not the prime concern with the F-22, whose mission is air superiority and thus self-protection and B) harder to achieve with afterburning engines, twin tails, and an overall more angular shape. The A-12 would have rivalled the B-2 had it been built.

Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated WikiMotors contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology,...
Learn more
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.