British Airways flight reaches close to supersonic speeds due to strong jet stream

The plane reached a top speed of 745mph and arrived at Heathrow early

Ben Tufft
Saturday 10 January 2015 19:46 GMT
The once-daily British Airways flight to Kiev took off as scheduled
The once-daily British Airways flight to Kiev took off as scheduled (British Airways)

Despite departing JFK late, a British Airways flight was able arrive early in Heathrow, notching up close to supersonic speeds on the transatlantic route, thanks to the 200mph jet stream.

The Boeing 777-200 hit ground speeds of 745mph due to the powerful jet stream, almost reaching the 760mph speed of sound, Mashable reported.

British Airways Flight 114 departed New York's JFK at 10.50pm local time on 8 January and landed at 9.05am at Heathrow the next day.

The total flight time was five hours and 16 minutes, well-short of the usual six hour journey, meaning the jet was able to arrive early, even though it had departed more than half an hour late.

The speeds were still far lower than those reached by Concorde, which regularly achieved speeds of up to 1,350mph. Its fastest transatlantic crossing was recorded on 7 February 1996, when it made the journey in 2 hours 52 minutes.

At no point did the 777 travel outside of its ordinary design limits and the airspeed of the aircraft was actually lower than its ground speed.

It is usual for the jet stream to intensify during the winter months and its typical direction of travel is west to east, causing issues for planes flying from Europe to the US.

In recent days, aircraft making such a journey have been taking a longer route by flying north, close to Greenland, to avoid the jet stream, usually they fly directly across the Atlantic.

In the past, flights have had to make unscheduled refuelling stops in Canada or New England, after struggling against the jet stream.

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