BA plane reaches almost supersonic speed

British Airways jet hits ground speeds of 745mph (1200 km/h)

Passengers flying between New York and London were amazed when they arrived 90 minutes ahead of schedule – despite departing late from JFK. The British Airways flight reached almost supersonic speeds by riding unusually strong winds.

The powerful jet stream resulted in what is thought to be the fastest transatlantic trip since Concorde stopped, with a record flight time of five hours and 16 minutes. The Boeing 777-200 reached ground speeds of 745 mph (1200 km/h), almost breaking the sound barrier, 761mph.

Pilots often use jet streams in the upper part of the atmosphere to push speed and conserve fuel. They are at their strongest at this time of year but are usually only about 15 kilometres wide, so catching them needs planning, skill and luck.

“It’s just like surfing,” a former BA pilot told the UK newspaper Daily Telegraph. “It’s extraordinary how fast you can go.”

The Week / Daily Telegraph