The World’s Longest Commercial Passenger Flight Was a Success

Imagine 20 hours in the air…If you’re up to it perhaps you should try Qantas’ newest non-stop flight from New York’s JFK to Sydney, Australia.

The scheduled 20-hour flight is one of three test flights for Qantas’ ‘Project Sunrise’, a science-based series of flights designed to gather, among other things, data about pilot fatigue, passenger jet lag and crew performance.

The first test flight left New York City on Friday night (10/18) and landed just after 7:00 AM local time yesterday (10/20) in Sydney. The flight lasted 19:16 with a total of 10,066 traveled.

The flight’s captain, Sean Golding, said he began wearing a bunch of medical gadgets a week before the flight to establish a baseline for a series of tests measuring everything from melatonin levels to brain waves. He said he wore the gadgetry through the entire flight and will keep wearing them for another week or so.

Among the 49 passengers – scientists, researchers, officials from Qantas, including CEO Alan Joyce, and a handful of reporters. All 49 were seated in business class and during the flight participated in exercises, calisthenics and other fact-finding experiments.

Food was a big part of the experiment. Hot, spicy foods were served during the first few hours to stimulate alertness; carb-heavy foods were served to induce sleep and relaxation.

I wish I had been one of the privileged few who had been invited to fly but I guess my Evite landed in the spam folder. Instead, I found this great first-person account by Business Insider’s David Slotnick.

You can also listen to my recap from this morning’s Wake-Up Call featuring comments from the CEO and pilots just after arrival in Sydney.

Photos: Qantas

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