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Passenger Plane Tops 825mph. Yep, 825mph

British Airways can thank Storm Ciara
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2020 12:00 PM CST
A British Airways Boeing 747 comes in to land at London's Heathrow Airport Monday, May 17, 2010.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

(Newser) Flightradar24 says you can fly from New York to London in 6 1/4 hours. British Airways just set a new record by doing it in a stunning 4 hours and 56 minutes, CNN reports. The Boeing 747 went overnight from Saturday to Sunday and beat the times of two other speedy planes, both Virgin Atlantic, by one minute and three minutes. So what gives? The BA flight flew to London as Storm Ciara "hurtled towards the UK and Ireland on the back of a 200mph jet stream," says the Evening Standard. According to Euro Weekly News, the storm's winds helped BA (and Virgin) break the old record of five hours, 13 minutes, set by Norwegian Airlines in January 2018.

Interesting side fact: Even though BA's top speed of 825mph was faster than the speed of sound—767 miles per hour—it didn't break the sound barrier because wind around the plane was pushing it. In other words, the Boeing 747 was moving at less than the speed of sound compared to the air surrounding it. (A Virgin plane went nearly as fast on a strong jet stream last year, Wired reported at the time.) Meanwhile, Ciara's heavy rain and 90mph winds have made landfall in Britain, disrupting electricity for thousands and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights, per the BBC. (Read more air travel stories.)

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