Falcon HTV-2: The fastest plane ever prepares to take flight

DARPA’s Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV2) will take to the skies on Friday (its 11 August flight was cancelled due to the weather) for its second, and final, test flight - where it will reach speeds of 13,000mph.

A speed that makes it easily the fastest plane ever at 20 times faster than the speed of sound.

To put that into perspective, that equates to a London to Sydney flight in less than an hour. That puts Bondi Beach in the London commuter belt. Lovely - stick another shrimp on the barbie mate.

Trouble is, there's no room for passengers on board. Or, in fact, a pilot. This is an unmanned, rocket-launched, maneuverable aircraft that glides through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Not exactly a 767 then.

It first flew back in April last year, collecting nine minutes of unique flight data, including 139 seconds of Mach 22 to Mach 17 aerodynamic data. The aim this time is to "to validate current assumptions and increase technical understanding of the hypersonic flight regime."

And to go "zoooom" presumably.

You can read more about the HTV2 at darpa.mil. Pull your socks up though, some of the information provided is likely to attempt to blow them off.