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Freak weather causes Virgin Atlantic plane to fly faster than the speed of sound at 800mph

Freak weather causes Virgin Atlantic plane to fly faster than the speed of sound at 800mph

The Virgin Atlantic flight was pushed to supersonic speeds thanks to the freak weather

Near record-breaking winds in the Atlantic jet stream pushed a number of commercial planes to supersonic speeds over the weekend.

It was reported that five commercial flights were affected by the strong Atlantic winds over the weekend (18-19 February).

Planes were pushed to speeds exceeding 1300 kph (800 mph), meaning that they reached beyond the speed of sound, with passengers left shell-shocked after being pushed to supersonic speed without warning.

Footage from inside the Virgin Atlantic flight was posted on social media.
Getty Stock Photo

It means that they reached similar speeds to Concorde - Mach 2.04 - an icon in the aviation industry which marked the only commercial plane to break the sound barrier.

One of the planes affected over the weekend was a Virgin Atlantic flight from Washington, US to London.

The US National Weather Service confirmed the jet almost reached 1,300 kph, which was due to the freak winds over the mid-Atlantic region that was east-bound, pushing planes to record speeds.

It stated on X: “This evening’s weather balloon launch detected the 2nd strongest upper-level wind recorded in local history going back to the mid 20th century,

“Around 34,000-35,000 ft, winds peaked around 230 knots (265mph!). For those flying eastbound in this jet, there will be quite a tailwind."

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: “At Virgin Atlantic, we assess all factors involving weather including jet streams. Utilising the strong tail winds associated with the jet stream increases aircraft fuel efficiency, reduces emissions and can benefit our customers with early arrivals to their destination. When planning the aircraft’s route and flight level, the safety and comfort of our customers and crew is always our top priority and is never compromised.”

They also stated that as a result of this, the flight arrived 45 minutes ahead of schedule.

The winds were near record-breaking.

One aircraft headed from New Jersey to Lisbon reportedly reached speeds of 1,344 kph (835 mph).

Despite all of this, the planes did not break the sound barrier even though they were going quicker than the speed of sound - this is due to them not travelling quicker than the sound relative to the strong air around them in the jet stream.

The fast and narrow current of air known as the Atlantic jet stream flows from west to east and encircles the planet, with pilots using it to cut down on travel time and fuel use.

It's basically a boost.

The average speeds here are usually 177 kph (110mph), but it can go higher depending on the time of year.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock photo

Topics: Travel, Viral, Weather