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Aeroplane Breaks Flight Record by Riding on a Storm

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Luis Monzon
Luis Monzon
Journalist. Reach me at

Jet Stream Jumbo

According to CNN, British Airways (BA) flight 112 took only 4 hours and fifty-six minutes to make it to London Heathrow from New York, flying across the North Atlantic. Landing two hours ahead of schedule. Breaking the record for fastest transatlantic flight previously held by Norwegian Airlines when one of their Boeing 787’s crossed the Atlantic in 5 hours and thirteen minutes. The average time it takes a plane to fly the same route is about 6 hours and thirteen minutes, according to Flightradar24.

The British Airways flight was caught in Storm Ciara which sped towards the UK. CNN Meteorologist Brandon Miller reports “The flight was riding a much stronger than usual jet stream, with winds over [320km/h] propelling the aircraft”. With the top speed of the flight being around 1,327km/h, the plane was flying much faster than the average Boeing 747 cruising speed of 920km/h. The storm was also responsible for grounding more than 100 flights in Germany and the Netherlands, and even in the UK, ironically.

The same ‘supercharged’ jet stream that pushed the aeroplane forward is also responsible for the power that storm Ciara is battering the UK and Ireland with, with one man being killed by the storm the previous Monday.

Miller continues, stating that a jet stream is like a ‘river of air’ that moves very fast high in the atmosphere, around the height that commercial aeroplanes fly, and that these jet streams are also responsible for carrying weather systems around the globe.

The British Airlines flight managed to hold on to the record by just one minute, as a Virgin Airbus A350 touched down at Heathrow with a flight time of 4 hours and fifty-five minutes. Another Virgin plane made the flight in 4 hours and fifty-two minutes touching down half an hour later, being beaten by the first Virgin flight by 3 minutes.

Sub or Supersonic?

The BA plane was clocked going faster than the speed of sound, according to CNN, but did not actually break the sound barrier because it was being propelled by the air around it. “Even when travelling at more than [1,280km/h], the 747 was travelling much slower than the speed of sound relative to the air around it”, they write.

“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”, the BA spokesperson said.

Edited by Luis Monzon

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