Records With And Against The Wind

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There's nothing like a good tailwind to help you get in the record books. But what's interesting about this speed record was that a record was set in both directions. The National Aeronautic Association has formally recognized the March 20 round trip, by David Riggs and Jeff Acord, from Los Angeles to Phoenix in an L-39 "Wild Child" as record-setting on both legs -- even though the return trip took 60 percent longer than the outbound portion. The still-air maximum speed of the former single-engine two-seat subsonic Soviet bloc trainer/fighter is about 450 mph but Riggs and Accord made the eastbound hop at 561.2 mph in a time of 39 minutes, 58 seconds. On the way back, against the wind, it took them 1:01:24 at a speed of 365.3 mph. Looks like an average speed of 463.25 mph (and we don't know if that's a record). The jet record vaulted both pilots into a select category of pilots who are record holders on multiple types of aircraft. Riggs already held a piston record and Acord had previously set marks in piston and helicopter categories.