The pace of life just keeps getting faster, so it’s no surprise machines are getting quicker and more efficient than ever before. From the ground to the sky, here’s a roundup of some of our favorite speed demons.
Fastest Train: Shanghai Maglev
China’s Shanghai Maglev train can reach a maximum speed of 267 miles per hour and has an average operating speed of 156 miles per hour. Still not impressed? Well, this train levitates, baby. It runs on a magnetic levitation line—hence the name Maglev—that stretches from Longyang Road Station to the Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
Fastest Plane: Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
In 1976, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird reached a speed of 2,193 miles per hour (more than three times the speed of sound.) The Air Force jet was piloted by Al Joersz, who was joined by George Morgan, a reconnaissance officer who sat in a separate cockpit behind Joersz. In a recent interview, Morgan said they hadn’t even flown the SR-71 as fast as it could go—just fast enough to break the previous speed record.
Fastest Boat: Spirit of Australia
The Spirit of Australia maxed out at 317.6 miles per hour during a run in 1978—a record that no other watercraft has come close to since. Just as impressive is the fact that Ken Warby designed and built the boat himself in his backyard. (And if powerboats are your thing, be sure to check out Miss GEICO!)
Fastest Helicopter: Eurocopter X3
In 2013, the Eurocopter X3 reached 293 miles per hour while flying over France. Days earlier it had rocketed to 302 miles per hour during a descent. Its four rotors are powered by two 2,270-horsepower Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322 turboshaft engines, enabling the Eurocopter X3 to achieve incredible speeds and a maximum service altitude of 12,500 feet.
Fastest Car: Hennessey Venom GT
The Hennessey Venom GT achieved a speed of 270.4 miles per hour at the Kennedy Space Center in 2014, although its claim to fastest car is somewhat controversial since it only completed a run in one direction. (Maximum speeds are usually determined as the average of runs in opposite directions in order to account for wind conditions.) Still, no car has recorded a higher speed.
Fastest Spacecraft at Launch: New Horizons
The New Horizons space probe was launched by NASA in 2006 to study Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. Its launch velocity was an astounding 36,000 miles per hour. It then achieved a heliocentric speed of about 100,000 miles per hour as it hurtled toward the far reaches of the solar system.
Sometimes the best technology is right in the palm of your hand. Have you downloaded the GEICO Mobile app?
Speaking of fast, did you know GEICO has a world-champion offshore racing boat?