The world’s longest flight

QantasQantas Boeing 787-9 has just tested the flight New York-Sidney, a 20 hours flight bridging a distance of 10,000 miles (16,000 km). The next test flight will be London-Sydney. This is 500 miles (800 km) longer and will last 21 hours. Qantas uses a brand new Boeing 787-9 for the ultra long-haul flight tests.

Ultra long-haul flight

A commercial flight would not be possible as there is not yet a plane capable of flying that distance nonstop. Therefore, the test flights will be operated with no more than 40 people on board including crew. With that small number and no freight, the Boeing 787 can just make the nonstop flight.

Qantas Airbus 350However, both Airbus and Boeing are developing a plane that will have the capacity to operate commercial ultra long-haul flights. Airbus is working on a version of the A350 and Boeing on the B777X.

Project Sunrise

The flights form part of Qantas’ Project Sunrise. It aims at operating regular, nonstop commercial flights from Australia’s east coast to London and New York. However, little is known about the effects of such long flights on passengers and crew. The test flights will produce new data about inflight passenger and crew health and well-being.

Who will be on board?

People in the cabin will mostly be Qantas employees fitted with wearable technology devices. Moreover, they will take part in specific experiences at varying stages of the flights.

Doctor on boardScientists and medical experts will also be on board. They will monitor sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption, lighting, physical movement and inflight entertainment. This serves to assess the impact on health, well-being and body clock.

Optimum work and rest pattern

Also, they will work with pilots to record crew melatonin levels before, during and after the flights. Pilots will wear an EEG (electroencephalogram) device that tracks brain wave patterns and monitors alertness. The aim is to establish data to assist in building the optimum work and rest pattern for pilots operating long haul services.

Tags: ultra long-haul flights, Qantas, health, well-being

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