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Planes are suddenly flying 200mph faster between US and Europe cutting flight times by an hour

Planes are suddenly flying 200mph faster between US and Europe cutting flight times by an hour

There's a reason why planes are getting faster

Planes flying from the US over to destinations in Europe are flying up to 200mph faster than they normally would.

Some passenger airlines are even going so fast that they're outstripping the speed of sound, and it means people are reaching their destinations an hour earlier than expected.

You might be wondering why exactly this is, because the reason surely isn't that the pilots have just discovered they can actually fly much faster than expected.

Of course not, this isn't a case of pilots deciding to put the pedal to the metal, or whatever the aircraft equivalent is.

The jet stream is making planes fly across the Atlantic Ocean faster.
Getty Stock Photo

Instead it's all because of something called the jet stream, a strong wind which blows across the world from west to east miles above the planet's surface.

It's really quite simple, if you fly along the flow of the jet stream then the winds will carry the plane and it'll reach its destination faster, or perhaps spend another hour circling the skies above the airport because flight schedules are pretty carefully planned.

Pilots already know about the benefits the jet stream brings to their flights in terms of speed, but particularly high winds pushing planes along at even greater speeds.

According to CNN, passenger planes flying from the US to Europe have hit speeds of up to 778mph, the speed of sound is 761mph.

These speeds are about 200mph higher than normal cruising speeds for passenger aircraft, though despite going faster than the speed of sound, the planes are not actually breaking the sound barrier.

Concorde planes were able to break the sound barrier while ferrying passengers across the Atlantic Ocean, but ground speed and air speed are two different things.

Wind goes whoosh, plane goes zoom. That's kind of the gist of it.
Getty Stock Photo

The first is how fast a plane is travelling relative to a fixed point in the ground, while air speed shows the speed of a plane in relation to the air moving around it.

On Wednesday (1 November) a flight from JFK airport in New York showed up at London's Heathrow airport 54 minutes early, this being the plane that reached 778mph along the way.

The winds of the jet stream are speeding up because the temperature is dropping over in the US, and the result which will be felt on this side of the pond is called Storm Ciaran.

It's not quite the fastest speed that a non-supersonic passenger plane has reached when crossing the Atlantic, as in 2020 a flight from New York to London clocked in at 825mph and shaved about two hours off the travel time.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Topics: Travel, World News, US News, UK News, Floyd Mayweather, Environment