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10 Mind-Blowing Facts About Modern Day Flight

Although it might be cool to hop in an old-timey air contraption, there's no denying that flying has come a long way since the Wright Brothers.

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2. Commercial airplanes are faster than ever.

Erik Simonsen / Getty Images

The Boeing 777-200LR can travel 10,793 miles at a max speed of 560 mph at a cruise altitude of 35,000 feet.

3. But unmanned experimental hypersonic planes can go faster (MUCH faster).

NASA / Via

The X-43A Scramjet can reach a speed of more than 7,000 miles per hour, nine times faster than the speed of sound.

5. These complicated controls can literally fly themselves.

ERIC CABANIS/Staff / Getty Images

Today even smaller planes come equipped with digital electronic autopilot combined with a flight director.

Read more about how auto-pilot works.

9. But electric planes are a reality, and could be the future.

(NASA/Bill Ingalls) / Via

Although still in infancy, they exist. Pipistrel's Taurus G4 can travel 200 miles in less than 2 hours, on the electricity equivalent of less than one gallon of fuel per passenger.

10. Most impressively, commercial space flight is (almost) a reality. You can pay to go to space.


Companies like Virgin Galactic are trying to build and maintain a passenger spaceplane that will take tourists 70 miles above the Earth for short flights in space. Other companies like Golden Spike and Planetary Resources, Inc. are trying to privatize lunar expeditions and asteroid mining.

Learn more incredible facts about flight:

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