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British Airways smashes record for quickest subsonic flight from New York to London

A British Airways (BA) flight has broken the record for the fastest-ever subsonic flight between New York and London, reaching a top speed of more than 800mph (1,287km/h). The Boeing 747 aircraft flew overnight from Saturday to Sunday and reached its destination in four hours and 56 minutes, as Storm Ciara sped towards the United Kingdom. ( More...

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George Lane 18
How long did they have to sit on the ramp after landing because the gate wasn't available yet?
Colin Seftel 4
Taxi time to gate given as 5 minutes.
Chris B 6
Which is right for LHR. BA has its own terminal an plenty of space there.
Tom Hines 5
A good moment to remember Capt. Charles Blair, who flew his own P-51 Mustang,"Excalibur III," over the same route at 37,000 feet in 7 hours, 48 minutes in 1951. Maybe you've seen this a/c at Air & Space Museum in DC?
CapeCodder 4
Trivia: Capt. Charles Blair was married to actress Maureen O'Hara for the last 10 years of his life.
parka123 2
...and she became the first female airline President when he died.
tom treutlein 1
and owned and operated Antilles Airboats
James Konkel 2
James Konkel 7
The bigger question in my mind is: "DID ALL THE BAGGAGE MAKE IT??" - ROTFLMAO!!!!!!
James Simms 0
Orville and Wilbur Wright lost their baggage on their first flight
El Kabong 10
That just means anyone coming the other direction can add 2+ hours to the trip with headwinds that strong.
Falconus 7
I'm sure you plan on avoiding the jetstream when flying west across the Atlantic.
alex hidveghy 4
There are several NATS tracks both westbound and eastbound. Selected on a daily basis. Winds and other weather are taken in to account. Usually, you take advantage of the jet stream eastbound and avoid it on westbound, if you can. So no, you cannot assume 2+ hours the other way.
glen krc 3
Flightaware says the inbound flight for that aircraft was in the air for 7h35m. The route (well north of the eastbound flight) was ~300 miles longer and actually tracked ~100 miles WEST of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
on AirCanada 747 in '02 from Frankfurt to Toronto. Strong headwinds added about 1hr 45min to flight. Thought we were never going to get there.
Jim Isbell 3
my first trans Atlantic flight was 10 hours from Dallas to London
Too bad the Concorde wasn't still flying. Would've loved to have seen its groundspeed on the same flight! Now that would've been impressive.
alex hidveghy 6
Mach 2.0??.......
Just a few more knots, and it would have been "Hello Idlewild".
Think there needs to be something similar to the Blue Riband for these translants.
James Simms 1
No, then there would be compromises & cuts to safety just for bragging rights (no Boeing comments, please).
If the airlines were going to pull shenanigans in regards to this, they would have already.
El viento de cola le ayudo mucho en este viaje
Tim Smith 2
Esa sería mi suposición :)
SmokedChops 2
The grand old lady of the skies still hauls a-- after all of these years. Look at some of the cargo flights from ICN to ANC, they are keeping the beans hot on some of those flights as well. The spirit of Tex Johnson is alive and well. (would be interesting to put a Citation X though a similar flight track to see what kind of numbers it would put up)
Colin Seftel 1
djames225 1
Looking back over the data, it appears BA only held the record for 9 mins...LOL
alex hidveghy 1
Yes, TWO Virgin Atlantic flights missed it by mere minutes , same day, similar tracks......
djames225 1
Something is not adding up, or perhaps I'm blind. When tracking VS4 and BA112 on Flightaware, is why I said BA only held the record for 9 minutes. It states BA112 Take-off JFK: Saturday 08-Feb-20 06:48PM EST Landing LHR Sunday 09-Feb-2020 04:42AM GMT (+1)
5hr 27min total travel includes taxi time @ JFK and LHR. Removing the 33 min taxi time gives you the 4:56 actual flight time.

However Virgin VS4 take-off JFK Saturday 08-Feb-2020 06:59PM EST Landing LHR: Sunday 09-Feb-2020 04:46AM GMT (+1)
5hr 7 min total travel time includes taxi time @JFK and LHR. Removing the 20 min taxi time gives you a 4:47 actual flight time.

Hence BA only held the record for actually 4 minutes, and were beat on the record by 9 minutes.
Air/ ground? That's still" Zoomin"!
ffrcobra1 0
800 mph airspeed? Really? A 74 went faster than the speed of sound? Boeing should have marketed them as supersonic passenger planes and maybe they’d still be building them. Perhaps the 800+mph is really “ground speed”??
Yup, ground speed. Airspeed was Mach .86
Shenghao Han 1
I think they changed the article, now they only say "top speed" instead of airspeed.
But 747 does boast with have one of highest cruise speed (0.88 Mach) comparing to Airbus 330's (0.83 Mach)
Transonic region from mach 0.75 to mach 1.2, design affected by area rule in that shock waves are reduced by constant area cross section. Wings increase the cross section. The increased upper deck length of the 747-300/400 had the effect of making use of the area rule to gain high mach possibility with reduced drag. Convair 990 has pieces added to take advantage making it the fastest commercial airliner to date. A380 has configuration at wing root to take advantage. I understand it was by chance, not design, that the 747 was able to take advantage another reason the -400 is faster and uses less fuel than the -200. Now don't ask me why the short upper deck on the -8F.
They definitely are capable of flying that fast, but I can't imagine them flying much faster than Mach 0.84 or 0.85. The Bean counters wouldn't like that lol.
alex hidveghy 1
That would be CRUISE Mach.which is less than Mmo...
Shenghao Han 1
Pardon me Airbus 330's maximum cruise speed is 0.86
birdbrainz 3
Max cruise for a 747-400 is 0.92 mach, which smashes the A330's. On the other hand, so does the fuel burn.
alex hidveghy 1
Some may not realize that airspeed (measured by the ASI and is essentially the speed through the air) is NOT the same as GROUNDSPEED (which is speed over the ground and is used in navigation- time, distance, speed).
Clearly, this was groundspeed and journalists unless they are aviation journals likely don’t know the difference. Nor do some readers. Ask an expert.....
BTW, speed of sound varies with altitude among other variables, also.
s2v8377 1
BAW112/08 JFK-LHR B744 Tail: G-CIVP Ship: IVP/VP

Actual In Air: 4h56m (FlightRadar24)

Actual Block: 5h27m (FlightAware)

Filed Airspeed 474kts (FlightAware)

Actual Airspeed +710kts (Data missing for ETOPS portion with strongest Jetstream on FlightAware)

Colin Seftel 0
Airspeed of +710kts is impossible without exceeding Mach 1!
djames225 6
Although I should have been stated Actual ground speed 710 knots.
Flightaware has got to add an edit function
djames225 6
Not when the air pattern around the craft is moving faster than the air speed of the craft itself.The airliner never achieved a supersonic airspeed. It was a flying at normal cruise speed with a very strong tailwind, which initialized a ground speed which would’ve been greater than the speed of sound, had it been achieved in still air.
Must have been 1 serious jetstream blast to enable not 1 but 3 airliners to break an old speed record
Colin Seftel 1
Airspeed is the relative velocity of the aircraft to the air around it. So, irrespective of the tailwind, the airspeed was never more than than Mach 0.88, the cruise speed of a B747. It could not have been 710kts.
s2v8377 4
Collin Seftel before you pontificate, FlightAware indicated 710Kts not me, and I did not say it was the over the ground speed. Do a replay of the flight if you don't believe me. I think you're forgetting the difference between the over the ground speed and true airspeed. The speed at which you break the sound barrier varies at different altitudes with true airspeed. Also 747 is capable of cruising at more than Mach 0.88.
alex hidveghy 0
It was! A very strong jet stream. Part of Storm Ciara which it the UK and Western Europe the next day!
Of course, it’s GROUNDSPEED. Can't be anything* else if you know a thing or two about aviation and nav.
greg presley 0
The real question is: how long did they spend doing ovals in the air waiting for the airport to open at 5am?
Neil Munro 1
Its open 24 hrs a day.
Colin Seftel 1
Although LHR doesn't have a night curfew, flights between 23:30
and 06:00 are restricted.
"There is no formal ban on night flights at Heathrow but since the 1960s, the Government has placed restrictions on them. Heathrow has some of the strictest restrictions of any hub airport in Europe in terms of movements permitted between 11:30pm and 6:00am. Heathrow is restricted to 5,800 take-offs and landings a year during these times."
Phil St.Jean -2
Wondering why they would not have pulled the power back and saved many thousands of pounds of fuel and money and still arrived on time/early?
...and then circle and dump the fuel prior to landing?
Colin Seftel 6
Wolfgang is right!
Max landing weight for B744 is 652,000lbs. Max takeoff weight is 910,000lbs. With a reduced burn rate of say 20,000lbs/hr and a flight time of 6 hours, you would burn 180,000 lbs and be almost 100,000lbs overweight on arrival. Unless you put your faith in the weather forecast and loaded less fuel. Probably not wise!
Gabriel Dufay 0
When I pain for 6 hours flight in Business it not à good news for me if I lost 1 hour in a so short flight1
alex hidveghy -2
Poor, poor you!
You want us to feel sorry for you? You should plan to work faster and harder then, lol!!🤦‍♂️
Jason Bell 0
There's KIAS, true air speed, ground speed, all in kts, which one and for how long? A little spurt from tail wind that hit 800mph? Could be ground speed, for some unstated stint, possibly even TAS. Out of the millions of jetliner flights across decades, did this really break any record?

I'll bet that, looking at the track log, was just a normal transatlantic scheduled flight, and Mach limited by Gander and Shanwick. Since, if this BAA can pull this off on some filed NAT track, then so could every other similar jet aircraft on that same track.
djames225 2
It was a scheduled flight, but thanks to that storm Clara, and the tail winds it created along the jet stream, 2 other craft did pull it off..BA only held the record 9 mins before Virgin took it in an A350
alex hidveghy 1
Ciara, not Clara......
alex hidveghy 1
When you read stuff like this in the tabloids you gotta remember who the audience is and what they know or don’t! Clearly, we pros know it was GROUNDSPEED. All the rest is irrelevant to the public.
As others have mentioned, this was an unusually string jet stream, part of Storm Ciara , which hit Western Europe and caused gales, flooding and structural damage in the UK.
I think you must mean BA, otherwise known as British Airways to give its full name. The BAA is another entity altogether!
It was not airspeed BUT ground speed do you know the difference?
Chris B -1
Strange. In another squawk, a BA flight from Boston to London did it in 10 minutes less.
djames225 3
Nothing strange at all considering Boston is closer. It's usually about 20-25 minutes more out of New York
James Simms -2
Then again, an SR-71 did New York to London in 1 hour, 54 minutes, 56.4 seconds; returning to Los Angeles from London in 3 hours, 47 minutes, & 39 seconds despite having to “slow down” over the US.
alex hidveghy 1
But this article is about a COMMERCIAL AIRLINES with hundreds of people onboard. Not an old military jet than goes supersonic. It wasn’t a race, it was being in the right place at the right time.
And your point?
I bet that SR-71 didn’t go JFKLHR........
James Simms -3
Well excuse the Holy H**l out of me If you don’t like It, then dam do something abt it, but you probably don’t have the spinal fortitude.
alex hidveghy 1
Not about liking it, mate. It’s about context!
And if you want credibility in writing, you better know how to spell! Dam, dam dam busters! Try damn for a change. Just sayin’....there, I did something for ya!
Scott Campbell -3
Folks we have our teacher ... arrived about an hour ago
Scott Campbell -3
And the instructor is ....
Phil St.Jean -4
I’m must be an expert on how much useful load a 747 can land with.
matt jensen -6
250kts jet stream? Lucky for them it didn't shear it apart. Besides look at all the fuel that was saved....
They're flying with the jetstream though. The aircraft in its own envelope was doing Mach 0.86 (which is within nominal operations). However the combined effect gives them a good bit of ground speed. It's the same for taking off against the wind. If your takeoff speed is 160 knots but your headwind is 20 knots, your takeoff speed would be 140 knots.
alex hidveghy 1
Not really. It was a TAILWIND. Tailwinds help you and increase your GROUNDSPEED. Hence early arrival, simple, innit?


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