Jetstream Pushes Boeing 787 Past 800 MPH

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Photo: Virgin

The best way to shorten an international airline flight isn’t necessarily to knock yourself out—in the case of one Virgin Atlantic flight from Los Angeles to London, the trick is to catch a whopping big tailwind. Around 10:30 p.m. on Monday night, as the Virgin 787 cruised along at 35,000 feet, it posted an 801-MPH groundspeed, according to radar tracks posted on FlightAware.

With the jetstream howling over the northeast, flight times west-to-east dipped dramatically. An American Airlines 737-800 ripped along near 700 MPH for almost 20 minutes between Chicago and La Guardia in New York on Tuesday morning.

Photo: Washington Post/FlightAware

This event coincides with a balloon sounding over New York three hours earlier indicating wind speeds of 200 knots (231 MPH) at 250 mb, or 30,000 to 35,000 feet. And it’s not letting up. National Weather Service forecasts call for winds speeds in the northeast above FL300 to be 150 knots (172 MPH) or greater for the next 18 hours.