News > Jet Stream Propels Plane across Atlantic in Record Time
A British Airways Boeing 777-200 jet reached a ground speed of 745mph - almost the speed of sound - as it encountered the jet stream’s 200+ mph winds whislt travelling from New York to London. This resulted in a flight time of just 5 hours and 16 minutes and the airplane arriving an hour and half before it was scheduled to.
Jet streams travel across the globe from west to east, are approximately 10 miles wide and 2000 ft deep, and usually found between 23,000ft and 39,000ft.
“It’s just like surfing. It’s extraordinary how fast you can go,” said Alastair Rosenschein, a former British Airways pilot who flew 747s between London and New York.
“You try to sit in the core of the jet where it’s not too turbulent and where you can pick up some free mileage. It’s not unusual to get 100mph tailwinds but they have got more than that,” he said.
This week the jet stream has been unusually wide and has reached speeds of 250 mph, fuelled by the steep temperature difference between the cold air across the US and Canada and warmer air moving up from the south.
However, the strong jet stream is also responsible for bringing two severe Atlantic storms to northern Britain – parts of Scotland have experienced record-breaking winds of 113mph, leaving thousands of homes without power.