Friday, November 07, 2008

JetBlue Embraer E190 sets a world performance record

JetBlue E190Yesterday USA Today's Ben Mutzabaugh wrote a brief article in his Today in the Sky Blog about the final flight of the McCain-Palin campaign plane chartered from JetBlue. The plane is an Embraer E190 like the one in the photo at right -- except that it bore a McCain-Palin logo on its fuselage for the duration of its charter.

The aircraft was used to shuttle Sarah Palin around to 29 different states during the recent election campaign. Its last official mission was to return Gov. Palin and her family to Anchorage on the day after the election. Then yesterday, the crew ferried the aircraft from Anchorage back to JetBlue's home base in New York, with a stop in Buffalo.

As I read that last bit, I remember thinking, "Anchorage to Buffalo nonstop? Hmm, that sounds like quite a long flight for an E190."

It was. In fact, the flight made aviation history.

Today Ben Mutzabaugh did a follow-up story about the JetBlue E190 flight in USA Today. Here is an excerpt:
In a message to employees on the company's intranet, JetBlue says "aircraft 239, the McCain-Palin charter jet, set a new record by jetting from Anchorage, to Buffalo nonstop. At 2,694 nautical miles, this was the longest E190 flight ever operated by any airline on the planet!"

"Flight 4500 took off from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport at 11:23 a.m. (Alaska time) and landed some 6 hours and 11 minutes later, at 9:34 p.m. (ET), at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. This ultra-long segment was the first leg of the aircraft's return to JFK and its eventual return to scheduled service in the coming days," JetBlue adds on its intranet.
I checked the JetBlue website for a press release about this feat: nothing.

I checked the Embraer website for performance information about the E190. It said that the E190 "has a range of 2,400 nm (4,445 km) and a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.82," but that was computed for a long range cruise payload of 98 passengers @ 220lb (100kg). Yesterday's record flight was a ferry flight, of course, so it had no such payload. Mutzabaugh's article mentioned that JetBlue credited "a strong tailwind" and the fact that plane was not weighed down by passengers and luggage.

Still, the duration and distance of JetBlue Flight 4500 was impressive, don't you think? Kudos to the unnamed crew members who flew that E190 into the aviation record books on November 6, 2008.

Next week the aircraft will have its McCain-Palin logo removed and replaced with the standard JetBlue logo and livery, after which it will be returned to regular service.

[Photo Source]