Qantas attempts to make the world’s first ever non-stop flight for a commercial airline from New York to Sydney. Aboard the new purpose-designed Boeing 787 will be about 50 passengers, a small crew, airline brass, media and volunteers who will be monitored during the 19.5-hour flight by a team of scientists.
For 20 hours straight
At almost 20 hours, the unprecedented journey is set to be the world's longest flight. It's a key test run as Qantas prepares to start direct commercial services connecting Sydney with New York and London as soon as 2022.
Flight to fight jet lag
As part of research aimed at reducing jet lag, passengers on board will effectively switch to Sydney time as soon as they leave New York late Friday, Qantas said.
Everyone needs to be up for 6 hours
Rather than following the standard practice of serving food and dimming the lights after takeoff, Qantas plans to keep everyone awake for six hours. They'll be helped by food containing hot peppers and spices.
This is how they do it
Six Qantas frequent flyers will follow a pre-planned schedule for eating, drinking, sleeping and moving. They will keep a daily log before and during the flight, as well as for two weeks afterward to gauge how they feel.
Pilots to be monitored
Pilots will wear brain-monitoring equipment to assess their alertness and will provide urine samples to track melatonin levels (a natural sleep-inducing chemical). Airlines have greater opportunity to travel long distances as advances in aviation lead to lighter aircraft that are more aerodynamic and fuel efficient.
What about fuel?
The Sydney-bound plane should land with about 90 minutes of fuel left in the tanks, Sean Golding, the aircraft's captain, said at a pre-flight briefing in New York. The brand-new jet will take off with about 101 tons of fuel.
The research on the Qantas passengers is designed to answer three central questions:- How does their sleep, cognitive ability, sleepiness and mood change on an ultra-long-haul flight? - How quickly do they adapt to the destination's time zone? - Do the changes to the in-flight routine actually improve passenger experience?