At the moment, getting from Australia to America is a huge journey involving two connecting flights, a long layover, and almost an entire day spent in the air. But this Friday, Qantas is testing a direct flight between the cities and, at 20 hours, it would become the world’s longest non-stop flight.
The test flight will use a brand-new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and will fly from New York to Sydney with a limited number of passengers and cabin crew on board. It’s part of Project Sunrise, a series of ultra long-haul research flights to gather new data about inflight passenger and crew health and wellbeing.[related_articles]76554,78150,76027[/related_articles]
No airline has ever flown direct between New York and Sydney, and the Dreamliner being used for this test flight is one of the only planes in existence that can handle a trip this length. The flight clocks in at more than 16,000 kilometres, but there’s more to it than just distance.
View this post on Instagram
The flight will also test how passengers and cabin crew react to a 20-hour flight. Spending this long in a pressurised cabin in the air could bring up a range of physical and mental wellbeing risks, but Qantas have protection methods in place.
The flight will be limited to around 50 people, and a team of scientists and medical experts on board and on the ground will monitor sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption, lighting, physical movement and inflight entertainment.
“Flying non-stop from the East Coast of Australia to London and New York is truly the final frontier in aviation, so we’re determined to do all the groundwork to get this right,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
If the test flight is successful, Qantas hopes to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from the east coast of Australia to New York and London.
(Lead image: Qantas Newsroom)
Alana is the staff writer on AWOL who thinks the best way to travel is by taking spontaneous detours and stopping at every local bakery to try the cakes. She writes a lot about Australian TV, Big Things, cursed food, and theme parks. You can follow her on Instagram @alana.dotcom. It’s mostly dogs she meets along the way.