The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Speedbirds in the news yesterday

From a longtime reader in the UK comes the story of British Airways (callsign: "Speedbird") celebrating the airline's 100th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the Boeing 747 by painting one in its 1964-to-1974 BOAC livery:

Large crowds turned out at Heathrow on Monday to welcome the plane, decked out in livery not seen for four decades.

The plane will keep flying in its retro BOAC design until 2023, British Airways said in a statement.

Tuesday's flight retraces the first route a Boeing 747 took in BOAC colors.

Also yesterday, a Virgin Atlantic B787 caught an unusual jet stream over the Atlantic that propelled it to a record-breaking ground speed:

A Virgin Atlantic flight from Los Angeles to London peaked at a whopping 1,289 km/h Monday evening 10,500 m over Pennsylvania. “[N]ever ever seen this kind of tailwind in my life as a commercial pilot,” tweeted Peter James, a jet captain.

It appears that’s a record for the Boeing 787-9 twin jet, which in the past has flown at speeds up to 1,249 km/h. The ordinary cruising speed of a Dreamliner is 903 km/h, with a maximum propulsion of 944 km/h. Any speed gained on top of that is thanks to Mother Nature’s helpful boost.

Although the plane didn’t remain in the “jet streak” — the zone of maximum wind embedded within the jet stream — for long, it still arrived 48 minutes early. And you might notice something suspect about the 1,289 km/h reading — it’s above the speed of sound (1,234 km/h). However, whether air travel breaks the sound barrier is dependent on its airspeed — not its ground speed.


Comments (2) -

  • David Harper

    2/20/2019 6:21:24 PM +00:00 |

    Next time you pass through Hatton Cross tube station, which is the last station on the Piccadilly Line before you reach the Heathrow terminal stations, take a close look at the centre columns on the platform.  They are decorated with the BOAC "Speedbird" logo.

  • The Daily Parker

    2/20/2019 7:19:05 PM +00:00 |

    "Change for...Piccadilly Line service to...Heathrow Terminal Hatton Cross. This is a Piccadilly Line service to...Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3, and 5."

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