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Virgin Atlantic Flight Reaches Speed of 1300 Kilometers Per Hour; Sets New Record

It should be noted that the erstwhile Concorde flight service, which flew between New York and London, typically flew at 2140 kmph or 1334 mph), more than twice the speed of ordinary aircraft, meaning that the Dreamliner's record is for within its own category of passenger aircraft.

Shantanu David | News18.com

Updated:February 22, 2019, 11:24 AM IST
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Virgin Atlantic Flight Reaches Speed of 1300 Kilometers Per Hour; Sets New Record
Virgin Atlantic (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Virgin Atlantic)
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We hope the passengers of Virgin Atlantic Flight 8, flying from Los Angeles to London on Monday night, were buckled in as the Dreamliner aircraft hit a record-shattering speed of nearly 1300kmph, as it caught a lucky tailwind over the New York City area.

The jet stream, which is what the various rivers of air flowing over the world are known as, was a record breaker in its own right, clocking in at over 370kmph, breaking its previous record of 358kmph, as reported by CBS. This was recorded as the fastest jet stream in over half a century. Having caught the jet stream at the best possible moment, the Virgin Atlantic flight hit a top speed of 801 miles per hour (1289kmph) over the US state of Pennsylvania.

"The typical cruising speed of the Dreamliner is 561 mph," reported CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave, adding, "The past record for the 787 is 776 mph set in January 2017 by a Norwegian 787-9 flying from JFK to London Gatwick. That flight set a record for the fastest subsonic transatlantic commercial airline flight — 5 hours and 13 minutes, thanks to a 202 mph tailwind."

While transcontinental planes boast powerful engines that are responsible for their flight speeds, the jetstreams or "rivers of air", which stream high up across large swathes of the world's atmosphere also help boost the speed of aircrafts and factor into pilots' calculations as they fly across the sky.

"A 100mph (160kmph) increase in the jet stream above typical can add or remove about an hour from a five to six hour flight," according to a spokesperson from FlightAware, which is a global aviation software and data services company that also happens to provide the most up-to-date flight tracking information, as we can personally attest. Sorry Google.

Those of our more scientifically-aware readers may be thinking that the Virgin Atlantic flight may have broken the sound barrier, which is 760 mph, but it didn't, as its cruising speed was bolstered by the strong tailwind that surrounded it and not achieved by the plane itself. It should be noted that the erstwhile Concorde flight service, which flew between New York and London, typically flew at 2140 kmph or 1334 mph), more than twice the speed of ordinary aircraft, meaning that the Dreamliner's record is for within its own category of passenger aircraft.

Military aircraft can often reach much higher speeds, with the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird having held the world record for the fastest 'air-breathing manned aircraft' with a recorded speed of 2,1932mph or 3,529kmph, since 1976. At least according to published records.
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