Qantas did it! The Flying Roo made history by successfully completing the world’s first non-stop commercial airline flight from New York to Sydney.
The (10th) brand new Qantas Dreamliner touched down in Sydney on Sunday after 19 hours 16 minutes in the air covering nearly 16,000 kilometres.
The test flight had just 49 passengers and crew on board, all of whom were involved in a series of experiments on health and well-being.
Data from these experiments will be used to help shape the crew rostering and customer service of Qantas’ ultra long haul flights in the future, including Project Sunrise.
Pilots had their brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness checked and passengers got up and about for special exercise classes.
Cabin lighting and in-flight meals were also adjusted in ways that are expected to help reduce jetlag, according to medical researchers and scientists.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce described the flight as “a really significant first for aviation”.
“Hopefully, it’s a preview of a regular service that will speed up how people travel from one side of the globe to the other”.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce
Night flights usually start with dinner and then lights off. For this flight, they started with lunch and kept the lights on for the first six hours, to match the time of day at their destination.
Qantas Captain Sean Golding, who led the four pilots operating the service, said the flight went really smoothly.
“Headwinds picked up overnight, which slowed us down to start with, but that was part of our scenario planning. Given how long we were airborne, we were able to keep optimising the flight path to make the best of the conditions,” he said.
“We had a lot of interest from air traffic controllers as we crossed through different airspace because of the uniqueness of this flight.”
“Overall, we’re really happy with how the flight went and it’s great to have some of the data we need to help assess turning this into a regular service.”
Two more research flights are planned as part of the Project Sunrise evaluations – London to Sydney in November and another New York to Sydney in December. Emissions from all research flights will be fully offset.
So, are these flights going to become a reality for you and your clients any time soon? Qantas promises a decision on Project Sunrise by the end of the year with flights to begin IF it goes ahead in 2022.
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