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British Airways Sets an Impressive Subsonic Flight Record

British Airways Sets an Impressive Subsonic Flight Record
Taylor Rains

This weekend British Airways set an impressive subsonic flight record, traveling from New York City to London in just 4 hours and 56 minutes.

New Record

Flight BA112 touched down at London Heathrow at 4:43 AM, nearly two hours ahead of its scheduled 6:25 AM arrival time. The Boeing 747 aircraft reached a speed of 825 mph (1,327 km/h), outperforming the previous 5 hour, 13-minute record held by Norwegian. Flightradar24 tracked the flight and posted the news on its Twitter, “If we’re not mistaken, BA now retakes the fastest subsonic NY-London crossing from Norwegian.”

The aircraft was able to reach these speeds with the help of a strong jet stream. Brandon Miller, senior CNN meteorologist, explained, “The flight was riding a much stronger than usual jet stream, with winds over 200 mph propelling the aircraft. The supercharged jet stream is also responsible for powering Storm Ciara, which has brought damaging wind gusts and massive waves to the UK, Ireland, and other parts of Northern Europe this weekend. The jet stream is a fast-moving ‘river of air’ high in the atmosphere, around the height that commercial airliners fly. The jet stream is responsible for carrying weather systems around the planet.”

Other Speedy Flights

British Airways wasn’t the only aircraft flying that day to beat Norwegian’s record. Two Virgin aircraft on the same route just missed BA’s record, the first by one minute and the second by three.

Although the British Airways flight was traveling faster than the speed of sound (767 mph), it did not breach the sound barrier because it was still flying slower than the speed of sound compared to the air around it. A BA spokesperson addressed the record flight, “We always prioritise safety over speed records, but our highly trained pilots made the most of the conditions to get customers back to London well ahead of time.”

View Comments (4)

4 Comments

  1. mvoight

    February 10, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    How long did they have to wait for a gate to open up?

  2. northernlights1

    February 12, 2020 at 1:37 am

    Isn’t there a 7am landing curfew at LHR?

  3. BC Shelby

    February 12, 2020 at 10:10 am

    …was on a Braniff flight between Las Vegas and Washington DC back in the1980s (after they turned into a low cost carrier) whenafter we reached cruising altitude, the captain announced we had a ground speed of around 720 – 740 mph due to catching a leg of the jet stream that split and dipped low into the continental US. Arrived in DCA about 40 min early..

  4. htb

    February 18, 2020 at 3:39 am

    Imagine you booked a business class seat and wanted to get some sleep before starting into the day. I wouldn’t be happy to arrive two hours early…

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