A plane of the Australian airline Qantas on Thursday launched its second of three ultra-long-distance test flights, leaving this time from London to Sydney, almost a month after completing its first research flight from New York to Sydney.
Under the Sunrise Project, the company expects the trip to last 19 hours and a half, to travel 17,800 kilometers nonstop to Sydney, Australia, said Flighglobal.
The flight took off at 6:00 on Thursday and will last approximately 19.5 hours, a little longer than the nonstop flight between New York and Sydney that flew between October 19 and 20.
The plane transports 50 people, between passengers and crew, without luggage, to give the aircraft greater fuel loading capacity that exceeds 100 thousand kilograms, enough to land with a surplus that would allow it to fly a little longer. Almost half the weight of the plane at the time of takeoff will be fuel.
The challenge marks the second time in history that a commercial airline has flown directly from London to Sydney. The first was 30 years ago in 1989, when Qantas operated a 747-400 flight between the two cities. The plane that made that flight (VH-OJA) is now displayed in the aviation museum of Australia.
The test is performed on a Boeing 787-9 that will fly 17,800 kilometers. This is approximately 1,500 kilometers longer than the first test between New York-Sydney.
Project Sunrise is Qantas' initiative to open nonstop services to the east coast of Australia from New York and London around 2022-23.
Although these services will eventually use Airbus A350 or Boeing 777X aircraft, the three Qantas 787 delivery flights will be used to collect data on ultra long-distance transport services for the carrier.
The last test flight will replicate the same route and will take place in December, the Australian company adds.
The results of the three tests will be used to shape future service and product design, with the aim of increasing well-being and comfort during long-distance flight trips, in particular the direct flights that Qantas expects to operate commercially between the East coast of Australia and London and New York.