Securing a boost from a benevolent Mother Nature, air travelers can expect some boisterously thrilling rides on the category five rapids of the heavens, as the Northern Hemisphere weather systems exchange massive energies in recalibrating for the height of Winter. The easterly flow of persistent winds conveniently conforming to the high altitude jetways in boosting the speeds of some of the busiest flights from Asia to North America, and North America to Asia made global headlines last year, as a Boeing 787 from LAX to London’s Heathrow surpassed the 800 mph threshold. For weather geeks and plane spotters alike, the Michael Johnson style sprint performance shattered an array of records, and the jet arrived 47 minutes ahead of schedule, and any airspeed reading on a commercial jumbo jet that surpasses the Sound barrier, raises the collective interest magnitude of universal news junkies.
Technically, the Virgin Atlantic twin engine aircraft will not be mentioned in the same vein as Chuck Yeager, as the ground speed of the flight was well within standard operating parameters. The steady flow of acceleration provided by the mass of air was solely responsible for allowing the jet to be whisked across the sky at an unbelievable rate, a phenomenon similar to how marine currents affect the speed of ships. While individuals situated within the comfort of stationary position embedded with feet firmly on Terra firma observe the performance of aircraft, the tail wind ride for air travelers can be an experience of turbulent proportions, and is not recommended for the skeptical and skittish flyer.
The short-term forecast calls for a blistering start to 2020, as the folks at Weatherstreet.com are predicting winds surpassing 206 knots, or 237 mph on January 11, right smack dab in the vortex of the evening aviation East coast commute. Aircraft utilizing the popular great circle route across the North Atlantic for ultra-efficient travel times to the super hubs of Britain and continental Europe may experience a video game like infusion of velocity in a sliver of atmosphere above Northern Maine, and New Brunswick, Canada, according to the latest models.
Fasten seatbelts and secure the highballs, as this roller 7 mile high roller coaster ride may get interesting. (courtesy Weatherstreet.com)
A series of favorable frantic winds encountered in the rarified air over Eastern Pennsylvania, helped the Virgin Atlantic “Heavy” to exceed the blistering aerodynamic readings, and in recent weeks the atmosphere has been gradually ramping up for a memorable grand finale, which included a Etihad Airways Boeing 777 traveling from Chicago’s O’Hare to Abu Dhabi receiving a pair of atmospheric booster rockets in notching a 780 mph reading. While the effort was admirable, the curiously geographically proximal prelude to the pending frenetic festivities of speed demons has enthusiasts locked and loaded for an epic kick-off to a memorable year of aviation intrigue.
A Boeing 777 transatlantic flight turns on the afterburners (courtesy Flightaware.com)