In Brief

BA jet nears supersonic speed on flight to London

British Airways jet hit 745mph on what may have been the quickest transatlantic crossing since Concorde

The flight time between New York and London was slashed when a British Airways plane reached almost supersonic speeds by riding a powerful jet stream.

The unusually strong winds resulted in a record flight time of five hours and 16 minutes, with the plane arriving 90 minutes ahead of schedule despite departing late from JFK airport. The journey is thought to be the quickest since supersonic jet Concorde stopped flying.

The Boeing 777-200 reportedly reached ground speeds of 745mph, almost breaking the sound barrier, 761mph, during its transatlantic journey.

Jet streams, extremely high winds in the upper part of the atmosphere, are regularly used by pilots to maximise speed, shorten travel times and conserve fuel and are at their strongest at this time of year.

"It's just like surfing. It's extraordinary how fast you can go," a former BA pilot told the Daily Telegraph.

However, as jets streams are usually only ten miles across, a combination of skill, planning and luck are required to take advantage of them.

"You try and sit in the core of the jet where it's not too turbulent and where you can pick up some free mileage. It's not unusual to get 100mph tailwinds but they have got more than that," he said. "This must be a record."

Northern hemisphere flight times in January and February, particularly between the US and Europe, are often noticeably shorter due to the increase in the prevalence of jet streams, with journeys westwards across the Atlantic taking longer and often encountering more turbulance.

The jet stream is formed by freezing air from the northern US meeting warmer air from the south. The weather system triggered gale force winds and storms in the UK last week, which left thousands of homes without power and caused severe travel disruption in Scotland.

Recommended

Amnesty criticised after stripping Navalny’s ‘prisoner of conscience’ status
Alexei Navalny on his return to Russia from Berlin.
In Brief

Amnesty criticised after stripping Navalny’s ‘prisoner of conscience’ status

‘Britain’s back to school shambles’
Today's newspaper front pages
Today’s newspapers

‘Britain’s back to school shambles’

American Airlines confirms UFO encounter
American Airline jets
Tall Tales

American Airlines confirms UFO encounter

Woman has to hide her pre-Covid tattoo
Mask tattoo
Tall Tales

Woman has to hide her pre-Covid tattoo

Popular articles

Budget predictions: what will Rishi Sunak announce?
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak poses with the Budget Box outside 11 Downing Street
Why we’re talking about . . .

Budget predictions: what will Rishi Sunak announce?

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
Line of Duty series six returns to BBC One in 2021
In Depth

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 23 Feb 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 23 Feb 2021