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Storm Ciara helps flight from New York to London set a subsonic speed record

Sunday, February 9th 2020, 3:28 pm - A strong storm, known in Europe as Storm Ciara, helped a British Airways flight become the fastest subsonic New York to London journey.

A plane whizzed by the Avalon Saturday evening; the flight, however, was far from ordinary.

British Airways Flight 112 was travelling over 1300 km/h through the atmosphere, catching a furiously fast-moving jet streak, which is a narrow band of enhanced wind speeds, extending across the northern Atlantic Ocean.

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The film Return of the King, which is the final saga in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, clocks in at 4 hours and 20 minutes. British Airways Flight 112 made the transatlantic journey in 4 hours and 56 minutes. Occasionally, this route can take over 6.5 hours to complete.

But, it's no Concorde. The Concorde program, a defunct supersonic passenger airline, made the journey in a stunningly fast 2 hours and 52 minutes.

STEROIDS FOR PLANE TRAVEL?

It depends on your definition of cheating, but to do this route in under 5 hours, the jet stream needs to align along the flight path with relative precision. The winds several kilometres above the ground were racing at over 350 km/h – a very formidable jet streak indeed.

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WHY NO SONIC BOOM?

It's all about relative motion.

From an observer on the ground, the plane is traversing the sky at over 1300 km/h, but that comes with a big boost from the jet stream (+350 km/h). The plane’s true airspeed would have been under 1000 km/h, the maximum specified airspeed for a Boeing 747-400, hence the lack of a sonic shock wave.

Not only was this beefy jet stream responsible for the record-breaking flight time, but it also fuelled an area of adverse weather in Europe. A strong storm, known in Europe as Storm Ciara, pummeled the continent with damaging winds, causing numerous power outages and flight cancellations across the region.

storm

With files from BBC News.

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