A tailwind is a wind that blows in a direction relative to the direction of travel of an object. For instance, if a private charter flight were taking off from an airport, a tailwind would be blowing in the same direction as the aircraft heading down the runway.
However, thanks to our understanding of aeronautics and aerodynamics, it’s actually not typically desirable to take off with a tailwind at your back. While it might seem like this would help propel a charter jet down the runway, it doesn’t help that much. Instead, taking off into a headwind is preferable because it helps create additional lift under the wing.
The Wind at Your Back
On the other hand, once a private charter flight has reached its cruising altitude, a tailwind can be quite beneficial because it:
- Increases airspeed
- Increases range
- Reduces fuel consumption
- Decreases the time to reach the intended destination
You’ve probably heard of the jet stream, which in North America, flows from west to east. These are strong bands of wind in the upper atmosphere. Let’s say you were travelling in a charter jet from Los Angeles to New York. Because you’d be able to fly with the jet stream (i.e. a tailwind), you’d complete your journey faster than if you were going from the Big Apple to La La Land.