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A Virgin Atlantic Flight Just Broke a Record by Hitting 801 MPH on Its Way From L.A. to London

That's faster than the speed of sound.


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We all dream of super-fast flights that get us from New York to Paris in an hour flat. But when an aircraft actually does technically travel at the speed of sound, it can really be a shock.

Despite most commercial flights being unable to reach such supersonic speeds, one Virgin Atlantic flight managed to actually surpass the speed of sound by traveling at a ground speed of 801 mph on a flight from Los Angeles to London on Monday, according to The Washington Post.

The speed of sound is 767 mph, depending on conditions like altitude, air pressure, and so on, according to Jalopnik. Back in 2018, a Norwegian Air flight broke records by managing to peak at 776 mph.

Evidence of this marvel can be seen on FlightAware. One Twitter user posted the flight’s incredible stats as it flew over Pennsylvania.

Oddly enough, the Virgin Atlantic plane was a regular Boeing 787-9, which has a cruising speed of 560 mph, according to Jalopnik. The reason it flew so much faster than Boeings are actually meant to fly is thanks to a little “boost” from a naturally occurring jet stream, a high-altitude air current that storms travel on, according to The Washington Post.

If the jet stream is strong enough, it can dramatically speed up or slow down a plane that gets caught in it.

And clearly, despite not being in the jet stream for long, the flight managed to arrive in London 48 minutes early. Yes, early arrivals do happen, but this flight was impressively early.

According to The Washington Post, jet streams this strong usually only occur in winter because the temperature differences between the north and south are at their highest.

Sadly, this means it may be a while until we find ourselves on flights that arrive nearly an hour early.


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