Streaking over California's Mojave Desert at an altitude of 40,000 ft. one day last week, burly Air Force Captain Walter Wayne Irwin, 34, opened his throttle, steadied his F-104A single-jet Lockheed Starfighter on course and handily broke the world's official aerial speed record by nearly 200 m.p.h.' Previous official record, flown last December over the same measured course by an Air Force F-104A McDonnell Voodoo: 1,207.6 m.p.h. Official time for Irwin's operational Starfighter,* figured by averaging one pass with the wind and one against it: 1,404.19 m.p.h., more than twice the speed of sound.

* Nine days earlier a Starfighter...

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