April 24, 2024

Brighton Journal

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D.C. travels exceed 800 mph thanks to near-record winds over Washington

D.C. travels exceed 800 mph thanks to near-record winds over Washington

Dulles International Airport, Virginia – Multiple flights from the metropolitan area to London began over the weekend aided by near-record jet stream winds over the mid-Atlantic.

According to FlightAware, the flight from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) arrived at London Heathrow International Airport (IAD) 45 minutes early, and wind speed and flight data could help explain why.

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Passengers aboard Flight 22 can thank strong upper-level winds recorded at near-record speeds over the mid-Atlantic over the weekend.

The graphic below shows the equivalent ground speeds for Virgin Atlantic Airlines Flight 22 as it headed toward the Atlantic Ocean. The drop in data occurred because the plane was over the middle of the ocean.

FlightAware data appears The plane reached a top speed of 802 mph relative to the ground when it was 33,350 feet in the air after just over 20 minutes of flight while still over the US mid-Atlantic region.

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Other air travelers also took advantage of this powerful jet stream Sunday night, reaching speeds of more than 800 mph.

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British Airways Flight 292 I left the gate at 9:56pm on Sunday and arrived 32 minutes early at London Heathrow International Airport. FlightAware data appears The plane reached a top speed of 806 mph after less than one hour of flight.

Another British Airways plane reached a top speed of 809mph after Flight 216 departed on Sunday at 6:38pm and arrived at London Heathrow Airport 20 minutes earlier on Monday. According to FlightAware.

Flights to the UK were able to ride strong winds known as the jet stream. These winds are at the upper levels of Atmosphere They move from west to east and are formed when warm air masses from the south collide with cold air masses from the north. Since the boundaries between cold and warm air masses are more pronounced during the winter, the jet stream is stronger during the winter.

A weather balloon Saturday evening detected the second strongest upper-level winds in the D.C. region's history, dating back to the mid-20th century, the National Weather Service office in Baltimore-Washington reported.

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Data from the balloon at an altitude of 34,000 to 35,000 feet show that wind speeds peaked at 265 mph. These tailwinds are what planes can ride out while traveling east, reducing travel time. These records for the Capital District date back to 1948.

“For those traveling eastward in this jet (stream), there will be quite a tailwind,” the NWS wrote on X.

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Did these commercial planes break the sound barrier?

While these planes were flying at incredible speeds, the planes did not break the sound barrier even though they all reached speeds in excess of 767 miles per hour.

This is due to something called airspeed, explains Jordan Overton, chief meteorologist at FOX Weather.

“The ground speed, which we usually measure, is the speed of the aircraft plus the winds around it,” Overton said. “So, while the plane, relative to the ground, would be traveling at 800 miles per hour, the actual airspeed of the plane is lower, about 500 or 600 miles per hour.”

A sonic boom occurs when an aircraft or missile breaks the sound barrier. In this case, the plane is traveling with the wind, and does not actually break the sound barrier.