Passenger airplane accidentally exceeded sound velocity

Passenger airplane accidentally exceeded sound velocity

Board of Virgin Atlantic Company was caught in powerful airflow that increased the airplane’s speed approximately by 300 kilometers per hour.

Passenger Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner of Virgin Atlantic Company that flew from Los Angeles to London was caught in airflow and as result exceeded sound velocity.

On February 18th on the east coast of USA in the low-density atmosphere strong air flows were observed. For example, over Long Island their speed reached about 370 kilometers per hour.


During the flight over Pennsylvania on the altitude about 11 kilometers Boeing was caught in jet flows because of which instead of its’ normal velocity of about 900 kilometers per hour began to move with the speed of 1289 km/h. Thus the airplane was technically moving faster than sound velocity that during static air condition on such altitude is about 1234 km/h.

In spite of such speed increase airplane landed in Heathrow airport only 48 minutes earlier than scheduled.

Later airplane’s pilot Peter James wrote in his Twitter account that he never met such back wind.

“Almost 800 miles per hour no pilot has met such back wind during his career (the flow 200 miles per hour)” – he marked.

Jet flows appear high in the atmosphere approximately on the same altitudes on which fly the airplanes. Usually such flows blow in the West-East direction. The reason of flows’ formation of such unusual high speed became impact of air mass form the South of USA where stays unusually warm weather during the last days and from the North of the country where abnormal cold stays.

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