Norwegian Dreamliner breaks transatlantic speed record

Reaching speeds of up to 776 mph the flight from New York to London took only 5 hours and 13 minutes

British Airways no longer hold the record for the fastest subsonic flight over the Atlantic Ocean as a Norwegian flight has reached its destination 30 minutes before the scheduled arrival.

Norwegian Boeing 787 Dreamliner set a new subsonic transatlantic record — Norwegian/Creative Commons
Norwegian’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner set a new subsonic transatlantic record — Norwegian/Creative Commons

With the help of a good tailwind, the budget carrier’s Dreamliner managed to push its speed up to 776mph on Monday. It made the 3,470-mile journey from John F Kennedy International to Gatwick in only 5 hours and 13 minutes – the shortest time for a subsonic plane ever.  

The Boeing 787 overtook the previous record set by a BA flight from JFK to London Heathrow in five hours and 16 minutes in 2015.

The Norwegian pilot, Captain van Dam, told Daily Mail: “We were actually in the air for just over five hours and if it had not been for forecasted turbulence at lower altitude, we could have flown even faster.

“When flying we record groundspeed – like a car travelling on the ground – and airspeed due to the varying wind speeds experienced during flight. The highest groundspeed during the flight was 776mph, more than the speed of sound, however, airspeed is actually slower than groundspeed.

“Therefore, our airspeed was at Mach 0.85, below Mach 1.0 needed to go supersonic and break the sound barrier.”

A day before the record break a different flight almost reached the limit. A plane piloted by Pascal Niewold passed the same route in 5 hours 20 minutes.

Captain Niewold said: “The passengers and crew were very pleasantly surprised that we were already landing in London. It was a very smooth flight with almost no turbulence and as a result of the jet stream we arrived 25 minutes early.”  

However, 5 hours are still significantly more in comparison to the planes from the supersonic era. In February 1996 a British Airways Concorde flew from New York to London in only two hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds.