Wright brothers flew the first plane in Kitty Hawk in December 1903. More than a century later, an airline plans to fly nonstop from one end of the globe to another. The airline is qantas and the flight from New York to Sydney would be of 20-hour duration. It will be a Boeing Dreamliner and there will be 40 human guinea pigs on board the plane. They will be fitted with a range of sensors to keep track of how their bodies and minds react to such a long nonstop journey.

Qantas has labeled is as Project Sunrise pertaining to the longest non-stop commercial flight in the history of civil aviation. The airline wants to assess the effects of such a flight in terms of the physical and emotional toll on not just passengers but also the crew.

News AU says Qantas is exploring options to expand its global reach. Its long-term plan is to offer connections between Australia and destinations such as the UK and New York.

These usually involve stops and the airline created history last year by launching direct flights from Perth to London. It now wants to test out the New York-Sydney route.

Jet lag will be a matter of worry

The Boeing Dreamliner identified by Qantas is brand-new and will be a flying laboratory.

There will be scientists and medical researchers who will continuously monitor the conditions of those on-board and how it affects them. Observers will make note of various aspects of the food and drink consumption, sleep and other activities. A watch will be kept on pilots to record their brain wave patterns and alertness. Such data will help to establish favorable work and rest schedules.

News AU goes on to add that the Australian and International Pilots Association has cautioned about the test flight.

Qantas has planned for two other similar flights in coming months. These will be a second one from New York and the third from London. Pilots feel there needs to be a fresh set of safety rules to cater to the new age requirement of ultra-long-haul flights. There is a concern among pilots about not getting adequate rest during the ultra-long range ULR flights. Jet lag is another aspect that requires a detailed study. The success of Project Sunrise will mean passengers can expect to use ultra-long-range flights in 2022.

Defining new boundaries of long haul flights

According to The Time, it is the dawn of a new age in super-long flights. Singapore Airlines Ltd. resumed non-stop services to New York last year and the demand appears to be a result of the development of lighter, more versatile aircraft that can fly further. The International Air Transport Association expects some 4.6 billion people to take a flight in 2019, which could multiply and reach a figure of 8.2 billion in 2037.

In this scenario, the Project Sunrise of Qantas could set a trend by operating super-long, non-stop routes from Australia’s east coast to South America and Africa.

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