Transatlantic Subsonic Flight Record
Pretty much my entire adult life I have regretted not ever getting to fly on the Concorde. It ended service in 2003 following a deadly accident and the realization that it was just too expensive to operate. Since then commercial air passengers have been stuck with the 550 MPHish planes that we all know and love.
The Supersonic Record
On February 7, 1996 the Concorde set the transatlantic airliner flight record by completing a flight from JFK to London Heathrow 2 hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds. That speed record may not be broken for quite some time or at least until new supersonic jets hit the market, but that didn’t stop passengers on Saturday from getting quite a ride.
A New Subsonic Champion (Or 3)
British Airways flight 112 smashed the subsonic transatlantic record the other day due to an amazing amount of wind. Specifically the 747-400 aircraft made the trip in 4 hours and 56 minutes while reaching speeds of up to 825 MPH! Want to know what is even crazier? Two Virgin Atlantic planes flying the same route at around the same time came in within 1 and 3 minutes of that time. The previous record was 5 hours and 13 minutes held by Norwegian Air.
It’s true that we were narrowly beaten by a BA Boeing 747, however they had twice the amount of engines and burnt twice as much fuel as Captain Chris in our brand new, fuel efficient Airbus A350-1000 😎
— Virgin Atlantic (@VirginAtlantic) February 9, 2020
No Sonic Boom
While the plane did technically break the speed of sound, it doesn’t work the same as when say the Concorde did it. According to CNN, “Although the BA plane was clocked apparently going faster than the speed of sound — 767 mph — it would not have breached the sonic barrier because it was being pushed by the air around it. Even when traveling at more than 800mph, the 747 was traveling much slower than the speed of sound relative to the air around it.”
Even if there was no sonic boom, getting from New York to London in under 5 hours plus the bragging rights of being on the fastest subsonic transatlantic flight would have been enough for me!
Have you ever caught a tail wind and flown significantly faster than normal? Did you fly on the Concorde? Share your story below!