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klmcedric
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Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 12:36 am

Last night I came back from YYZ to AMS on KL692 with 747-400 PH-BFA.
At a certain point during the night I noticed that we were cruising at 771mph or 1240Km/h.
At more than 34.000 feet that would mean we were travelling faster than sound.
Is that in any way possible??? Or could it just be that flighttracking was wrong.
We did the YYZ-AMS leg in 5.47h. That seems pretty fast to me.
I have never seen these kind of speeds on any of my previous flights.
I'd imagine that a 747 nearing mach 1 would seriously start to shake, so thanks for
any good explanation for this cos I don't understand it!!!
 
exPratt
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 12:43 am

You had a really good tailwind. The speeds shown are ground speeds, not airspeeds. A 744 could never go supersonic in level flight.
 
jblake1
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 12:44 am

Could it be indicated ground speed? With tail wind?

I believe this would push you along, resulting in the higher indicated ground speed.
 
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drerx7
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 1:03 am

Sidenote--isn't the 747 the fastest subsonic commercial airliner now?
HOUSTON, TEXAS
 
WF2BNN
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 1:11 am

Drerx7, the 747 is the fastest commercial airliner now, period.

WF2BNN
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DC-10inLB
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 3:30 am

I flew LAX-ORD at 37000ft going 697mph, that's certainly transonic. That was ground speed I'm sure, cut the flight time down a bit too. Had I been seated in economy I would have appreciated the short flight time, but since they upgraded me to seat 1A, a skysuite, I would have liked the longer flight.

747s are the fastest things flying, I do know that back in the '80s the UAL 747SP - Freindship One hit 803mph on one of her segments on the round the world speed record...Pretty damn quick!
 
delta-flyer
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 7:29 am

The aircraft's Mach number is determined by airspeed, which remains fairly constant during cruise, while groundspeed can vary significantly, based on wind speed and direction.

Pete
"In God we trust, everyone else bring data"
 
ssides
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 7:53 am

Forgive me for being the non-scientific ignoramus.

I know there is a difference in air speed and ground speed, but what is it? And how does that affect Mach?
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 7:57 am

I realise it wasn't real, but I have cruised at FL310 in a 346 on my FS with a GS of 605 kts at one point (665 mph). The reason was the very strong tailwind - over 100 kts and gusting to 135-150 kts (I can't remember any more specifically. Do you get gusts this high? :-P ). My airspeed was 250-275 kts (if I remember correctly - this could be wrong). I did not at any time overspeed, because my airspeed did not increase.

[Edited 2004-12-30 00:03:56]

[Edited 2004-12-30 00:04:49]
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HaveBlue
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 8:02 am

The airspeed is the speed of the aircraft thru the air.

If your airspeed is 400 knots, and you have a 50 knot tailwind, then your groundspeed will be 450 knots. You'll be covering the ground at 450, but your airspeed is still 400. If your doing that same 400 knots and have a 50 knot headwind, your groundspeed will be 350 knots. You'll be covering the ground at a speed of 350, even though your airspeed is 400.

Another words, your speed relative to the air around you is 400. But that enormous air mass is moving at 50 knots itself, so it carrying you along faster.

Just to put it another way, say your in a boat. Your speedometer reads 20mph. But your going downstream and the water itself is moving at 5mph. Well, you'd be making tracks at 25mph, because your speed + the speed of the water itself. Then on your return trip, going upstream, you'd be effectively covering ground at 15mph.

Hope that helps.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 8:08 am

I know there is a difference in air speed and ground speed, but what is it? And how does that affect Mach?

Ground speed= speed of the aircraft relative to the ground beneath it.
Airspeed= speed of the aircraft relative to the air around it.

So if the air around the aircraft is moving in the same direction as the aircraft (tailwind) ground speed can be much higher than the nominal cruise speed of the aircraft. Airspeed will remain the same.

Mach is a measure of speed relative to the speed of sound. Note that sound travels at different speeds through different materials and densities. For example, sound travels faster through most metals than through air. So Mach 0.87, for example, is a speed in terms of the speed of sound. At different altitudes, this is equivalent to different airspeeds, and it's pretty much disconnected from groundspeed.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
PhilSquares
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 8:11 am

Just to elaborate a little more on HaveBlue's post.

Ground speed is your true airspeed correct for wind. In his example, your true airspeed would be 400kts and the tailwind would be 50kts, thus your ground speed would be 450kts.

However, true airspeed is not indicated airspeed. For example, in my aircraft, 744, at FL370 our normal cruise is .855M our indicated airspeed is 270Knots. Our true airspeed is about 500kts.
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delta-flyer
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 8:13 am

Glad you asked ... airspeed is what the aircraft "puts out" based on its characteristics -- it's prettty constant during cruise. As an example, say a typical cruise airspeed is 500 knots (kt).

The Mach number is the speed of the aircraft compared to the speed of sound. If the speed of sound at that altitude is 600 kt, then the Mach number is 500/600 = 0.833. Why is the speed of sound so important? Because it represents the limiting rate at which air molecules in front of the aircraft can be compressed. Over Mach 1 (supersonic speed), the air molecules are "kicked aside", so to speak, and the physics of motion is very different from compressible flow that is true below Mach 1 (subsonic).

Now, imagine the plane flying in a moving sea of air - say the air mass moves in the same direction as the plane, at 50 knots. The groundspeed of the aircraft is the aircraft's speed made good over the ground, which in this case is 500 + 50 = 550 kt. If the sea of air is moving at 50 kt opposite to the airplane's speed, then the groundspeed is 450 kt. The former is a "tailwind", while the latter is a "headwind", indicating the direction of the source of moving air compared to the aircraft orientation.

Similarly, a crosswind is air moving in any side direction relative to the aircraft. In this case, you need to use trigonometry to calculate groundspeed, using a vector triangle. In addition to a groundspeed, you also calculate a true course, which is no longer the same as the direction the airplane is pointing.

In the foregoing discussion on groundspeed, airspeed is the same 500 kt in all the examples, and therefore Mach number is the same 0.83.

If you have any questions, I'll be on line for a bit and will be glad to help.

Cheers,
Pete
"In God we trust, everyone else bring data"
 
AAplatnumflier
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 9:09 am

I was once on an AA 777 that was doing 653 mph.....the captain said that we had an extremely strong tailwind. This made up for the hour that we lost at LAX because of the horrific line for takeoff.
 
cbphoto
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 10:46 am

Just a quick clarification, the 747 is the fastest cruising Commercial airliner in the skies, however it is not the fastest cruising commercial jet, the Cessna Citation X cruises at around Mach .98, taking the rights as the fastest cruising commercial jet now that the Concorde has been retired.
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CX Flyboy
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 11:01 am

The speed of sound is dependant upon temperature (density of the air). Doing those cruising speeds at sea level would certainly be above Mach 1, however at cruise altitude, the speed of sound is significantly higher, allowing higher cruising speeds without breaking Mach 1. An aircraft can theoretically climb at a constant Mach number, but have it's airspeed increase as it climbs higher.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 11:14 am

the Cessna Citation X cruises at around Mach .98

More like a max of 0.91. Although the Citation X has done it during testing, M0.98 in normal operations would be quite dangerous. Even without being supersonic, you are well into Mach buffet.

[Edited 2004-12-30 03:15:10]
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Flyinround731
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 12:35 pm

Speaking of jetliners breaking the sound barrier, the Douglas DC-8 was the first jetliner to break the sound barrier. Although we're talking about fastest cruise speeds, I thought it would be appropriate to bring this up in midst of the discussion of airliners and sound barriers. On August 21, 1961, a Douglas DC-8-42 (Production line:130, Serial:45623) reached Mach 1.012 in a controlled dive from an altitude of 52,090 ft while passing through 41,088 feet. It was later delivered to Canadian Pacific Airlines on November 15, 1961. -Joe

[Edited 2004-12-30 04:46:08]
 
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flybynight
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 1:23 pm

I believe max "normal" airspeed for a 747 is around mach . 85. I wonder if a 747 could be pushed up to the speed of sound. That would be a helluva sonic boom, and I wonder what structual impact it would have...if any.
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aerlingus330
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 1:29 pm

Probley, whats stopping the 747-400 from reaching the sound barrier would be the heat generated, cabin pressure problems, engine trouble and the damage caused to the structure of the airplane once it approaches and hits the Sound Barrier...

Air acts differently when passed through at supersonic speeds, that explains the weird shape of the sonic cruiser, and its only is supposed to travel at Mach 0.98...

regards
aerlingus330
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tristar2000
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 1:33 pm

I wonder if a 747 could be pushed up to the speed of sound. That would be a helluva sonic boom, and I wonder what structual impact it would have...if any.

I would take a guess that the wings would come off, is that a significant structural impact?? I would think so, but that's just me!

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Starlionblue
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 1:39 pm

I believe max "normal" airspeed for a 747 is around mach . 85. I wonder if a 747 could be pushed up to the speed of sound. That would be a helluva sonic boom, and I wonder what structual impact it would have...if any.

The Israelis pushed a 747 to M0.97 during a dive while testing a freight mod. Not something you want to do every day.


Probley, whats stopping the 747-400 from reaching the sound barrier would be the heat generated, cabin pressure problems, engine trouble and the damage caused to the structure of the airplane once it approaches and hits the Sound Barrier...

Shockwaves along the aerodynamic surfaces are not to be trifled with.


Actually, at least one 747 has gone supersonic in a dive after an incorrect response to an engine surge. It lost bits and pieces of the wing and stabilizer but limped to safety.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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flybynight
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 1:48 pm

Reaching Mach 1 by diving would be different than reaching Mach by level flight. I would think there would be higher structural stress on the fuselage by diving to reach Mach 1.
Heia Norge!
 
YVR99
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 2:13 pm

More questions...
How is indicated airspeed different from true airspeed? Why measure the two different speeds?

Thanks... YVR99
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jfkaua
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 2:27 pm

indicated airspeed is the speed shown by the aircraft's airspeed indicator measuring the pressure of the air striking the front of the aircraft as it moves forward. It is affected by atmospheric pressure, being close to the true airspeed at low altitudes and differing more as altitude increases.

True airspeed is calculated by taking your indicated airspeed and adding 2% of it for every thousand feet you are above sea level..

For example if your IAS = 200kts and your altitude is 10,000 feet your true airspeed is 240kt
 
cxsjr
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 4:13 pm

Whilst on this subject, what are the heaviest headwinds or tailwinds anyone has experienced? I flew BA (A320) from BCN to LHR on Tuesday with headwinds hitting 155 mph, the groundspeed shown was 368mph. I also flew from BOS to LHR a couple of years back on a 777, some of the flight at FL410 with tailwinds of 161mph, with a groundspeed of 705mph.

How reliable is the info shown on the inflight monitors?
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andz
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 4:31 pm

I remember flying JNB-SYD three years ago and the monitor was showing sustained ground speed of over 1,000km/h while on the return flight the 744 was battling to maintain 800. The difference in flight time is almost 3 hours.
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tungd
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 4:46 pm

Imagine walking on a treadmill...you're body is moving, but the treadmill "headwind" is negating your forward motion, so you're ground speed is zero. A "moving sidewalk" at a large airport has just the opposite affect, providing a "tailwind" that is propelling you down the corridor much faster relative to the ground than your legs are actually moving. In this case, your "indicated" speed (the rate you're actually walking, which is usually 3 mph) is less than the actual speed you're body is moving along the ground...if the moving sidewalk is going 5 mph, then your actual ground speed is 8 mph.

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md11dude
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 9:32 pm

In Gs its possible,, but not TAS...your askin for serious problems. Fastest plane Ive been on was a Canadian DC-10-30 from YVR-LHR at 1,112km h. (good ol jetstream)An AC 330-300 at 1,088km, And my C-172 at 150mph S/L @7-8 gph...loaded to the max legal ..hehe.(although i have serious reason to suspect aft CG)
I just wish that you could also find a jetstream flowing westerly as well across the atlantic....jeez, the A330 I was comming home dawdled along at 762km/h GS. Id hate to know the fuel burn on that one...
CP979
 
md11dude
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 9:34 pm

I know the 744 is rather quick, but I believe the MD-11 can keep up without a problem. It Is also one of the quickest out there.
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1MillionFlyer
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 11:05 pm

CX flyboy

"The speed of sound is dependant upon temperature (density of the air). Doing those cruising speeds at sea level would certainly be above Mach 1, however at cruise altitude, the speed of sound is significantly higher, allowing higher cruising speeds without breaking Mach 1. An aircraft can theoretically climb at a constant Mach number, but have it's airspeed increase as it climbs higher.":

This is exactly backwards and tempurate has a very little to do with it, especially at high altitudes. The higher you go the LOWER the speed of sound becomes. As the atmosphere becomes thinner there is less pressure and so molecules are spaced much more further apart, temperature also lowers air density but only as it gets hotter. Lower temperatures condense the air.

Also the standard temperate lapse rate decreases temperature of 2 degrees C (3.5 degrees F) for every 304 Meters (1000 feet). UP TO the Stratosphere (typically in the 10,000 Meter (30,000 Feet) range), after that the temperature becomes almost constant and can actually rise slightly at the Troposphere.

To add to the thread, I was on a KLM 742SUD from DTW to AMS and we made it in 5 Hours 57 Minutes, at one point groundspeed was 1100 K/PH  Smile

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DTManiac
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Dec 30, 2004 11:07 pm

I had 1180km/h on an LH A343 on the JFK-DUS leg. I never thought that the jet stream could push an aircraft so fast.

Frederik
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Argonaut
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Fri Dec 31, 2004 4:52 am

I guess all of this makes the 752 mph I once noticed in a lightly-loaded Qantas 747-300 between Melbourne and Sydney (first leg of a jouney to BKK/LHR back in 1990) look pretty anaemic. I just knew it had to be a illusion somehow...

Argonaut
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Ryanair!!!
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Fri Dec 31, 2004 6:46 pm

Just out of curiosity, do yu pilots carry the Pooley's CRP 5 Computer with you as a back up or do you leave everything to the FMC and auto-pilot to calculate the speed?
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delta-flyer
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Sat Jan 01, 2005 4:49 am

1million ....

This is exactly backwards and tempurate has a very little to do with it, especially at high altitudes.

You're right about the first part - speed of sound is higher at sea level than at high altitude.

But surprisingly, temperature has everything to do with speed of sound. There is no simple explanation, other than to note that in the derivation of the speed of sound, you consider the pressure and velocity of air particles in front of and behind a wave propogating at the speed of sound. Applying Newton's second law (force = rate of change of momentum) and the continuity equation (mass flow across the wave is conserved), the resultant speed of sound comes out as the square root of the rate of change of pressure with respect to density across the wave.

Now, applying the perfect gas law, both pressure and density can be expressed in terms of temperature alone. This derivation can be found in all books dealing with compressible fluid flow.

One practical formula, adjusted for the characteristics of air, is something like
c = 49 * sqrt (T) where c is speed of sound in ft/sec, sqrt is square root, and T is temperature in Rankin (Fahrenheit-absolute).

Examples ... at 60F, c = 49*sqrt(459+60) = 1116 ft/sec
.................at -65F, c = 49*sqrt(459-65) = 973 ft/sec

Cheers,
Pete
"In God we trust, everyone else bring data"
 
1MillionFlyer
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:09 am

I perhaps didn't clearly state my point, since Temperature effects density of air of course it affects the speed of sound, my point was at high altitudes, temperature is fairly constast and has less to do with air density therefore than it would at the surface.

excellent analysis and formulas!

This type of topic is what I love about airliners.net!
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BIGBlack
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:51 am

Wow this is a great thread. Thanks to all involved
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starrion
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Jan 06, 2005 3:12 am

I flew "backwards" once in a piper warrior. We had huge headwinds aloft. (the crosswinds on landing were pretty active too).

I flew over to Plum Island airstrip here in Mass, then pointed the nose directly into the wind and went to extreme slow flight, just above stall. The coast started to recede as our airspeed was lower than the headwind. I would say we had a groundspeed of about -10mph or so. It was pretty cool.
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1MillionFlyer
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Jan 06, 2005 4:42 am

I learned to fly in a Warrior and loved flying backwards also during the winters in Ohio.

One time I was flying from CAK to DAY and had to stop in CMH for fuel. I had a 30 knot ground speed with 2500 RPM!.

I also once had a 40 foot total distance landing in a C150 at SGH and actually talk about STOL  Smile
Golf Foxtrot you are cleared for departure
 
planespotting
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:09 pm

Another fun fact regarding this thread...

A Branniff DC-8 was the first aircraft to go supersonic while carrying passengers. I believe it was in the mid 60's and it was during a brief dive. anyone know any other details?
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FlyboyOz
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RE: Cruising At Mach 1 With A 747!

Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:33 pm

Yeah...I recall when I flew Ansett Australia B744 from HKG to SYD five years ago, we were cruising at about 1250km/hr and 40,000 feet high...of course, it wasnt shake. That was normal flight!!
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