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Aircraft

Virgin Atlantic Flight Breaks Speed Record Thanks to Jet Stream

Virgin Atlantic Flight Breaks Speed Record Thanks to Jet Stream
Jackie Reddy

It may not have broken the sound barrier, but a London-bound Virgin Atlantic flight from LA was recorded as hitting a top speed of 801 mph, setting a new record for a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Its swift progress was aided by an exceptionally strong jet stream phenomenon over the eastern United States.

Thanks to a super strong jet stream over the eastern part of the United States, a London-bound Virgin Atlantic flight from Los Angeles was recorded as hitting a top speed of 801 mph, Popular Mechanics reports. While Virgin Atlantic Flight 008 didn’t quite break the sound barrier, it has certainly set a new speed record for a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  

Adding clarity to the situation, the outlet states that, “While that statistic would suggest that the Dreamliner crashed through the sound barrier (767 mph), that’s not actually what happened: The plane reached a ground speed of 801 mph but wasn’t technically moving that fast at altitude.

The Washington Post notes that the normal cruising speed of this kind of craft is registered at 561 mph.

The flight hit this max speed as it was passing 35,000 feet above central Pennsylvania and was aided in its journey by an exceptionally swift jet stream.

Remarking on the incredible speed of the flight on Twitter, corporate pilot Peter James posted, “Almost 800 mph now never ever seen this kind of tailwind in my life as a commercial pilot!!”

Mathew Barlow, a climate scientist, helped explain the presence of the strong jet stream.  

The very fast jet stream was associated with a rapid south-to-north transition from the deep troposphere assoc w/ more tropical air to the much shallower troposphere of more arctic-type air,” he tweeted.

While the flight’s speed was impressive, the Daily Mail notes that the progress of the plane was a temporary phenomenon.  After heading out over the Atlantic, its speed dropped to just over 700 mph.  

Despite this reduction in speed, the plane landed in London 48 minutes early.  

[Source: Virgin Atlantic]

View Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. mvoight

    February 21, 2019 at 6:44 am

    That routing for LAX-LHR seems quite a bit off from the shortest path seen here
    http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=lax-lhr

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