Australian airline Qantas made a continuous flight lasting 19 hours and 16 minutes. This is the longest non-landing flight in history. This was reported by Reuters.
Qantas wanted to find out how such a long flight will affect people. The Boeing 787-9 flew without landing 16.2 thousand kilometers from New York to Sydney. There were 50 passengers on board, including Qantas employees.
This is truly a historic moment for Australian and global aviation.
According to Reuters, airlines are exploring the possibility of long-distance flights due to increased demand for air travel and improved aircraft. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global number of passengers will increase from 4.6 billion in 2019 to 8.2 billion by 2037.
At the same time, not a single modern aircraft is still capable of flying at extremely long distances at full load. Qantas flight took off with maximum fuel load, but only with a part of passengers, limited luggage and without cargo. During landing, the aircraft still had fuel for another 70 minutes of flight.
The purpose of the Qantas flight was to collect data, therefore, among the passengers was a team of researchers. They will study the factors of lighting, activity, sleep, and patterns of passenger consumption on similar flights, as well as the levels of “sleep hormone” melatonin among crew members.
The company also collected data on the brain activity of pilots during the flight using tracking devices. Researchers will analyze the data to minimize jet lag and find the optimal balance between work and rest for the crew.
Qantas expects to have a continuous flight from London to Sydney by the end of 2019. After that, the company will decide on the creation of permanent routes in 2022 or 2023.