AN historic test flight by a commercial airliner arrived in Sydney, Australia, today after completing a non-stop 10,000 mile journey from New York in just over 19 hours.
The fifty crew and passengers aboard the Qantas plane were monitored by special devices to gauge the impact of the marathon, guinea pig flight on the body.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner touched down in Sydney early Sunday morning after a flight of 19 hours and 16 minutes the world’s longest.
Qantas says tests ranged from monitoring pilot brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness to exercise classes for passengers.
A total of 49 people were on board.
University of Sydney professor Stephen Simpson said the experiment would help understand jet lag.
He said: “We know from the basic science of circadian rhythms that a bigger time difference between departure and arrival locations, and travelling east rather than west, tends to mean people feel more jetlag.
“But people seem to be wildly different when it comes to the experience of jetlag —and we need more research on what contributes to jetlag and travel fatigue, so we can try and reduce the impact of long-haul flights.’
Captain Sean Golding, who led the four pilots, says “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.”
Qantas boss Alan Joyce said he hoped to eventually include an exercise area in the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for economy passengers, if the flights get the go-ahead to start in 2022.
A similar ultra long-haul service is expected to be trialled from London to Sydney later this year.
It could also herald the start of regular non-stop flights in 2022, if aviation safety authorities and Australia’s national airline give it the thumbs up.