Virgin Atlantic Dreamliner Flight Hits 801 MPH, Shatters Record

By Anna Breuer on 19 February 2019
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Virgin Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 cockpit

Virgin Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 cockpit

A Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner broke a speed record when it hit a ground speed of 801 mph (1,289 km/h) late Monday.

Virgin Flight 8, which departed Los Angeles at 2:48 p.m. local time on Monday, managed to hit that speed thanks to a tail wind of over 200 mph (322 km/h) encountered over Pennsylvania.

Aviation geeks as well as commercial pilots were agog.

“[N]ever ever seen this kind of tailwind in my life as a commercial pilot,” said Peter James, an airline captain, on Twitter.

The 801 mph was a ground speed record for the 787-9 Dreamliner.  The old record stood at 776 mph (1,249 km/h).  As for the 787 itself, it was cruising along at its usual cruising speed of 561 mph (903 km/h).

While the ground speed reading was above the speed of sound, which is 767 mph (1,234 km/h), it didn’t break the sound barrier because it was embedded in the swiftly moving air.

The previous record was set by a Norwegian Air Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner last summer. It also set a record by flying between New York and London in 5 hours and 13 minutes.

While not a record flying time, the Virgin Atlantic Flight arrived at its destination 44 minutes early.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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