On Sunday, a team of four pilots from the Australian company Qantas completed the longest flight in history. The plane connected New York to Sydney in just over 19 hours with 49 passengers on board.
The longest non-stop flight in history touched down in Sydney on Sunday morning after more than 19 hours in the air since leaving New York, a feat Qantas plans to translate into commercial success in the near future.
Experimental flight QF7879 traveled for exactly 19 hours and 16 minutes, the first of three very long flights planned by the Australian company this year. It plans to create regular commercial lines on these long journeys. Upon arrival, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce was delighted with a “truly historic moment“, both for his company and for the aviation world as a whole.
“This is the first of three test flights after which we will be able to see what recommendations we can make regarding the way for pilots to manage their fatigue, and for passengers to manage jet lag.“Mr Joyce said after landing in Sydney.”After 7 pm on that plane I think we did well. I feel like I did a much shorter flight than that“.
16,000 km journey with 49 passengers
The Boeing 787-9 that left New York’s JF Kennedy Airport on Friday evening was carrying just 49 people, mostly Qantas employees. The weight in the cabin was thus reduced, which made it possible to carry a sufficient quantity of fuel for the 16,000 kilometers of the journey. According to the specialized site flightradar24.com, the aircraft weighed 233 tonnes on takeoff, including 101 tonnes of kerosene.
Four pilots took turns at the controls during the flight. Researchers from two Australian universities were on board to observe how the passengers slept and eat, and monitor their levels of melatonin, “the sleep hormone”. In addition to this monitoring, passengers were offered a program to reduce jet lag.
As soon as they took off in New York at 9 p.m., they were asked to set their watch to Sydney time, where it was lunchtime. From the lighting to the meals on offer, everything had been calculated to keep passengers awake until night fell in Sydney. The crew then offered them a suitable meal, dimmed the lights and advised to avoid the screens so that they would fall asleep during Australian hours.
Professor Marie Carroll of the University of Sydney, who took part in the flight, said she felt “unbelievably good“after landing and expected to feel”a time difference minimal” : “I think passengers are going to have a normal day today and a normal sleep next night“, she explained resumed by The Telegraph.
However, she underlined the importance of the special program put in place by Qantas for this flight. “It’s quite an experience to see if airlines can adjust the times of meals, drinks, physical activity and lighting to be in harmony with the local time of destination “, she continued.
Two more flights scheduled for November and December
While Sean Golding, Qantas captain in charge of the team, called the flight a “success,” the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), which represents the company’s pilots, has expressed doubts about the health. of these. She called for a “long-term scientific study“to find out if the pilots got the necessary rest during such flights.
Until now, the longest commercial air route in the world was a connection between New York and Singapore launched in 2018 by Singapore Airlines, which lasts 6.30 p.m. according to the company’s website. The next two flights planned by Qantas will connect London and Sydney in November, then New York and Sydney next December.
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