In a rare event, last week a London bound flight (Boeing 777) from New York attained air speed of 1199 kmph which is way higher than the normal cruising speed of 950 kmph. The speed attained of the flight is quite close to the speed of sound which is 1225 kmph. The flight took five hours and 16 minutes which is 90 minutes less than the scheduled traveling time. This is all because the flight was powered by tailwinds of a strong Jet Stream traveling at a speed of 300 kmph.
Jet streams are fast blowing narrow bands of winds found near the tropopause of the earth’s atmosphere. There are mainly two types of jet streams one is called polar jets which are found at a height of 23,000 to 39,000 feet above sea level. The other is called subtropical jets found at a height of 33,000 to 52,000 feet above sea level. Polar jets are stronger than subtropical jets. This flight was pushed by polar jet stream as it was traveling at a height of 35,000 feet above sea level.
In a previous incident dating back to 7th February, 1996 involving a drooping nose aircraft traveling on the same corridor of New York to London, attained a speed of 2179 kmph which is way higher than the speed of sound. This flight took only two hrs. 52 min and 59 seconds, which interestingly may be less than the time spent in immigration and waiting lounge. This time the aircraft was aided by a 280 kmph jet stream.
Main Image: © EPA