Amazing reason planes between US and Europe suddenly flying a lot faster

Planes travelling from the US to Europe are reaching speeds equivalent to that of sound.

An analysis by CNN has found the jet stream over the Atlantic is so strong right now it is slashing flight times with one Emirates flight from Dallas in Texas to Dubai in the UAE arriving almost an hour early on November 1, after reaching a ground speed of 1250kmph.

“No there was not a sonic boom that we heard or felt here on the ground,” CNN weather anchor Derek Van Dam explained.

“That is because Mach 1 or the speed of sound, which is roughly 767mph (1234kmph) at a fixed point on the Earth, is not the same when you go up in altitude.

“It’s also relative to the speed of the plane and the air that it is moving through.

“Now the ground speed that we report on, the 760mph (1223kmph) that these jetliners have been flying across the North Atlantic, is actually a product of not only the speed of the aeroplane but also the speed of the wind.”

Mr Van Dam said Mother Nature was “giving a little bit of a kick, a tailwind to these transatlantic jets with wind speeds of over 200mph (322kmph) in the upper levels of the atmosphere” where the planes fly at about 40,000 feet.

He said it means the amount of fuel needed to travel from the US to Europe is being “greatly reduced” and so is the time needed to travel the distance.

CNN meteorologist Sara Tonks said it was “this week’s burst of cold air” in the US that was making the jet stream (wind where planes fly) so strong at the moment.

She said the speed of the jet stream was driven by temperature differences between the US, which is cold, and Atlantic Ocean, which is warm.

The speedy flights thanks to nature are a welcomed treat for passengers who await the development of commercial supersonic aircraft to cut their flight times.

One American company designing a new aircraft with the ability to fly from Melbourne to Los Angeles in just 8.5 hours is expected to start flying its first passengers within six years.

Colorado-based company Boom is developing a commercial supersonic aircraft called Overture and already has orders from three airlines – Japan Airlines, United Airlines and American Airlines.

Boom told news.com.au Australians on-board Overture would be able to travel to international destinations in almost half the time.

This includes Melbourne to Los Angeles in just over 8.5 hours instead of almost 14 hours, Brisbane to Shanghai in five hours instead of 10 hours, and Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur in less than five hours instead of eight hours.

Commercial supersonic flight has been on hiatus since Concorde was retired two decades ago after 27 years of flying. The last commercial Concorde flight landed in Bristol, England in 2003.

Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson and Queen Elizabeth II were among the famous faces who flew on Concorde flights.

Musician Phil Collins famously performed at the 1985 Live Aid charity concerts in London and Philadelphia in the US on the same day thanks to Concorde.

But the plan for Overture is for supersonic commercial flights to be a lot less exclusive.

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