As of 2015, what aircraft holds the record as the fastest and highest-flying operational manned jet aircraft in the world?
The SR-71 was the world's fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft throughout its career. On 28 July 1976, SR-71 serial number 61-7962, broke the world record: an "absolute altitude record" of 85,069 feet. Several aircraft have exceeded this altitude in zoom climbs, but not in sustained flight. The SR-71 also holds the "Speed Over a Recognized Course" record for flying from New York to London—distance 3,461.53 miles, 1,806.964 miles per hour, and an elapsed time of 1 hour 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds—set on 1 September 1974 while flown by U.S. Air Force Pilot Maj. James V. Sullivan and Maj. Noel F. Widdifield, reconnaissance systems officer (RSO).