Virgin flight hits record 801 mph due to powerful jet stream

A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787, like the one pictured above, reached record speeds of 801 mph while traveling through a powerful jet stream on Monday. Photo courtesy Mark Harkin/Wikimedia Commons

Feb. 20 (UPI) — A powerful jet stream propelled a commercial airline flight to record speeds of more than 800 mph.Virgin Atlantic Flight 8 from Los Angeles to London reached a top speed of 801 mph as it traveled through the high-altitude air current while flying about 35,000 feet above Pennsylvania on Monday, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

The flight’s record speed took place in the midst of a jet stream that was recorded at more than 230 mph over Long Island, The Washington Post reported.

The measurement of the jet stream’s speed came from the 250 millibar pressure level, indicating it was at a height above 75 percent of the atmosphere’s mass. It also set a record for the fastest 250 millibar wind speed ever recorded over New York.

In January 2018, a Norwegian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner — the same model of plane used in Monday’s flight — reached a speed of 776 mph while riding jet-stream winds up to 202 mph, breaking the record for the fastest transatlantic flight in a conventional passenger aircraft.

The Dreamliner can travel at a maximum cruising speed of 561 mph, with a maximum propulsion of 587 mph, with additional speed being provided solely by powerful jet streams.

Although the Virgin plane didn’t travel in the jet stream for long, it still landed at its destination 45 minutes early.

Other high flight speeds were recorded in the midst of the jet stream, including an LAX-JFK Delta flight Monday night which achieved a speed of 678 mph at 39,000 feet over the Ohio Valley and a 737 from Chicago to New York flew faster than 700 mph on Tuesday morning.


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