Qantas has published footage of its record-breaking 9,332-mile flight from Buenos Aires to Darwin. Video filmed from the cockpit shows the gorgeous Antarctica landscape below as the aircraft made the almost 18-hour journey.
Qantas makes 9,000+ mile flight over Antarctica
As Simple Flying reported yesterday, Qantas operated a 9,332 mile (15,020 km) flight from Buenos Aires to Darwin that clocked in 17 hours 25 minutes in the air. The repatriation flight flew 107 passengers (128 including crew) from Argentina back to Australia, breaking Qantas’ record for its longest flight.
Video footage from the cockpit shows some of the incredible views passengers were treated to:
An amazing view of Antarctica from the cockpit. pic.twitter.com/7iJranqH3v
— Qantas (@Qantas) October 7, 2021
This is the first time Qantas has ever flown directly between Buenos Aires and Darwin. Flight QF14 was operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (VH-ZNH), which Qantas has named Great Barrier Reef.
One of the pilots, Captain Alex Passerini, said,
“There were some truly spectacular views as we tracked across Antarctica, which was an extra bonus for our passengers who were very glad to be coming home.”
The plane took off from Buenos Aires at 12:28 local time heading south towards Antarctica. Six-to-seven hours later, passengers will have caught their first glimpse of the frozen continent as the aircraft soared over the Antarctic coast for around four hours.
Fortunately for passengers, the plane passed over Antarctica during daylight hours, offering views rarely seen on commercial flights. The plane finally landed in Darwin at 18:39 local time, with total time in the air clocking in at 17 hours 25 minutes.
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A month of route-planning
Qantas staff are believed to have planned the record-breaking flight up to a month before to ensure all calculations were spot on. This included making sure wind conditions over the South Sea and Pacific Ocean aligned. As it turned out, tailwinds helped shave five minutes off the journey time.
The flight beat Qantas’ previous record for its longest flight (London to Perth) by 522 km. One remarkable statistic is that yesterday’s flight makes Darwin Airport one of just four airports (Doha, Dubai and London) worldwide to have received nonstop flights from all six continents.
“We have quite a bit of flexibility over the South Pacific as there’s not a lot of other traffic to deal with, but small changes in the wind can have quite a significant impact on the route that we take. That is calculated by our flight system.”
Live updates on social media
Given the significance of the flight, the crew onboard kept the world in the loop with live updates posted on social media:
“It’s cold -75C, greetings fm Antarctica over the Walker Ranges def no polar bears, all going well, cheers fm QF14 Damien and Alex on deck.
“Antarctica behind us absolutely spectacular Great Southern Land next Cheers from Crew QF14.”
All 107 passengers onboard are now required to quarantine at the Howard Springs camp. The flight itself was a return-leg flight of an earlier trip, which took the Argentina national rugby team (visiting for the 2021 Rugby Championship) from Brisbane to Buenos Aires on Sunday.
Have you ever gone on a scenic flight over the Antarctic? What is the most unusual place you have flown over? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments.