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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The whole point of machines in our lives is to perform tasks that would be physically or mentally impossible for a mere moral. Why, you would have to be some sort of Superman if you wanted to replace machines! As children, people dreamed of growing up to become the Man of Steel. While that has never really panned out for anyone, people did grow up to become scientists and engineers who created machines to do everything Superman can. Is he faster than a speeding bullet? Of course he is. Although we lack the ability to fly by ourselves, we have invented aircrafts that will Superman a run for his money.

Bell X-1

The Bell X-1 is a classic example of the power of collaboration. They say that two heads are better than one; the Bell X-1 had boffins from three companies working together to create the first aircraft to break the sound barrier. Researchers at the Bell Aircraft Company, NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) and the US Air Force worked around the clock to give Captain Chuck Yeager an aircraft that would hit Mach 1. In October 1947, 2 years after the end of World War II, Glamorous Glennis (an X-1 christened for Chuck Yeager’s wife) broke the sound barrier and mankind went supersonic for the first time in history.

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

Lockheed Corporation is one of the biggest names in military aviation history. Over the decades, the company has produced some of the finest military aircrafts ever made. However, all of them pale in comparison to the company’s greatest achievement, the SR-71. Nicknamed “blackbird”, the SR-71 is the baby of Skunk Works, Lockheed’s Advanced Development Programs (ADP) division where some of the finest aeronautical brains in the planet are put to work. Operating at the edge of space, where the atmosphere is at its thinnest, the Blackbird cruised at speeds over Mach 3. When targeted by a missile, aircrafts have to outmanoeuvre the weapon so that they are not hit; a Blackbird simply outran any missile fired at it. Officially launched in 1966, the Blackbird remains the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft ever built.

Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde

Having the ability to fly will be thrilling in the beginning, but its charm would probably wear off after some time. What if, for a change, Superman wants to take it nice and easy while crossing the Atlantic, but doesn’t want to sacrifice speed? The son of Jor-El need not fret; the British and French worked together to create the greatest commercial airliner ever made – the Concorde. Cruising at Mach 2, the Concorde has so far been the pinnacle of commercial aviation. Although retired out of service in 2003, we are pretty sure Superman can get his hands on one of these engineering marvels for personal use.

The concept of flight has fascinated mankind since the first time man laid eyes on a bird. Now that we have perfected the art of getting airborne and landing safely, the next goal is to go as fast as science will allow us to. The next time you are looking up to the heavens and see something moving very fast, keep a close eye on it. It could be a bird or it could be a plane. Or it might just be Superman.

Author Bio:
Matt Pearce, the author of this post, works for a custom aircraft parts supplier and he enjoys writing about his work. He likes to indulge in cooking for his family in his free time.

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