Much has been said about economy class syndrome and how to combat the physiological effects of long-haul flights.
But what happens when you're in the air for close to 20 hours?
Australia's Qantas Airways has made history with 'Project Sunrise', completing the first non-stop commercial flight from New York to Sydney. It lasts for 19 hours and 16 minutes, covering roughly 16,000 km.
A total of 49 people were on board for the test flight. Researchers monitored the effects of ultra long-haul flights on crew fatigue and passenger jetlag.
Managing editor of SA Flyer Magazine, Guy Leitch says this long-distance leap is of huge significance for the development of aviation.
What we've actually seen is this incredible leap in performance over the past ten years or so in terms of twin-engined aircraft, being able to fly for nearly 20 hours.— Guy Leitch, Managing editor - SA Flyer Magazine
He says the New York-Sydney flight lays the groundwork for the even longer flight from London to Sydney.
That one will be consistently over 20 hours. At 17,800 km, it's almost halfway around the world.— Guy Leitch, Managing editor - SA Flyer Magazine
Leitch says it's the development in engine technology that has made these super long-haul distance flights possible, with efficiency increasing by 17-20% with every new generation.
These days when an airliner takes off, even a twin-engined airliner, most of the time the pilots actually throttle the engines back, so they never use all the power that is available.— Guy Leitch, Managing editor - SA Flyer Magazine
It requires an enormous amount of investment in energy to get all that fuel (for 20-plus hours) airborne.— Guy Leitch, Managing editor - SA Flyer Magazine
Qantas is set to test the flight from London to Sydney in November.
Listen to the conversation on Weekend Breakfast with Africa Melane:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Non-stop NY-Sydney flight of 'huge significance' for development of aviation