Some International Flights Clocking Speeds Exceeding 800 mph Thanks to High Winds: One Flight Arrived Almost an Hour Early

Credits: WFLA

Over the weekend, near-record wind speeds propelled several international flights to exceed speeds of 800 miles per hour, significantly faster than the typical 500 to 600 miles per hour range for commercial flights.

The powerful 265-mile-per-hour winds, the second-highest ever recorded according to the National Weather Service, created optimal conditions for three planes on international routes to reach remarkable speeds and arrive at their destinations earlier than scheduled.

The impact of a changing climate is cited as a contributing factor to stronger winds within the jet stream, a narrow band of wind that flows from west to east.

Plane hitting Over 800 mph On Recent Flights (Credits: Business Insider Africa)

While the increased wind speed can offer a tailwind advantage for eastbound flights, it also brings downsides, such as heightened turbulence and stronger headwinds for westbound flights.

“For those flying eastbound in this jet, there will be quite a tailwind,” noted the National Weather Service’s Baltimore-Washington office on Saturday.

Shem Malmquist, a professor of aeronautics at Florida Tech University and a Boeing 777 captain, highlighted the benefits of a tailwind, recounting his recent flight that reached 822 miles per hour due to the jet stream.

However, he acknowledged potential drawbacks, including bumpier flights and slower travel times for westbound aircraft due to the narrow band of air creating turbulence.

Notable flights that experienced the effects of the jet stream over the weekend include Virgin Atlantic Flight 22, which departed from Washington Dulles International Airport and landed in London 45 minutes ahead of schedule after reaching a top speed of 802 miles per hour.

United Airlines Flight 64 from Newark to Lisbon also benefitted from the jet stream, flying as fast as 838 miles per hour and arriving in Lisbon 20 minutes early.

The fastest flight of the day was American Airlines Flight 120 from Philadelphia to Doha, Qatar, which reached a maximum speed of 840 miles per hour and arrived 27 minutes early.

While these speeds are extraordinary, it is essential to note that the British Airways Concorde, which operated from 1976 to 2003, achieved even higher speeds.

The Concorde, a supersonic jet, had a cruising speed of 1350 miles per hour, more than twice the speed of sound. It famously completed the New York to London route in under three hours in February 1996. However, the Concorde was retired from service in 2003.