burchfiel
Posts: 471
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:34 am

### First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

In 17 days (11/23/2013) SQ will be discontinuing their EWR - SIN flight, currently the world's longest scheduled commercial flight at 9,535 miles. As a result, the world's longest scheduled nonstop flight will be 8,578 miles (QF SYD - DFW). However, the Earth's circumference at the equator is roughly 24,901 miles, meaning the longest great circle route you could see would be about 12,450 miles. In other words, the longest nonstop flight as of November 24 will only cover 68.8% of the potential distance of an ultra long haul flight.

My question is when we might cross the following ultra-long-haul milestones for scheduled commercial service: 10,000 miles, 11,000 miles, or 12,000 miles. I recognize that it may be decades before we reach these figures, but I'm also interested in knowing what airlines, aircraft, and city pairs might be involved. Many of the routes would likely be (A nonstop kangaroo routes from Europe to Oceania or (B nonstop Asia to South America routes. Meanwhile, DXB is positioned so well that, unless EK wanted to start flights to a Pacific Ocean destination like PPT, it would be impossible for them to have a route of this length

As points of reference (these numbers, from the Mileage Calculator site, are estimates):
SYD to JFK is 9,940 miles.
LHR to SYD is 10,600 miles.
LHR to AKL is 11,400 miles.
NRT to GRU is 11,500 miles.
PEK to EZE is 12,000 miles.
PVG to EZE and AKL to MAD are both 12,200 miles.

psa1011
Posts: 417
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:37 pm

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

NRT to LIM @ 9,588 miles would be interesting.

jetblueguy22
Posts: 2795
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:26 am

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

 Quoting Burchfiel (Thread starter):when we might cross the following ultra-long-haul milestones for scheduled commercial service: 10,000 miles, 11,000 miles, or 12,000 miles. I recognize that it may be decades before we reach these figures, but I'm also interested in knowing what airlines, aircraft, and city pairs might be involved. Many of the routes would likely be (A nonstop kangaroo routes from Europe to Oceania or (B nonstop Asia to South America routes. Meanwhile, DXB is positioned so well that, unless EK wanted to start flights to a Pacific Ocean destination like PPT, it would be impossible for them to have a route of this length

Perhaps never. I mean is there really demand on the routes you mentioned outside of say LHR-SYD? It would be very tough to make them work. You would have to have extremely cheap flight costs to make it close to economical. It isn't just fuel costs either. Do you want to spend all that money on extra crews for a flight that would last a day or more? Its the aircraft utilization worth it? Plus would you run into curfews with these flights? I don't have a view into the future, so I may just be babbling on, but it just seems out of the realm of possibility for more than just aircraft reasons.
Pat
Look at sweatpants guy. This is a 90 million dollar aircraft, not a Tallahassee strip club

747megatop
Posts: 1517
Joined: Wed May 23, 2007 8:22 am

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

 Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 2): Do you want to spend all that money on extra crews for a flight that would last a day or more?

Well, that could change once flying times come down drastically. But, you are right, given the current flying times there are a lot of drawbacks in flights as long as SYD-LHR from being economically feasible. Per EADS we are a good 30 to 40 years away from hypersonic flight - http://thartyblog.wordpress.com/2013...e-of-2050-the-eads-hypersonic-jet/ .I remembered reading about EADS hypserconic aircraft proposal at their 2011 Paris Air Show, so i thought of sharing the link here. Once that becomes are reality then SYD-LHR may seem definitely doable without having to worry about spending a good 20+ hours in a plane.

burchfiel
Posts: 471
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:34 am

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

Jetblueguy22, Those are good points, and it's possible that we would never see routes of this nature develop. However, given how nonstop routes have become progressively longer and longer over the last 40 or 50 years, I think there's a chance that these increases will continue and result in nonstop routes that aren't at all feasible at this point. It may take a massive shift in aircraft technology, such as the change from propeller aircraft to jet aircraft, or it might simply be the result of gradual improvements in fuel efficiency or speed. But I'm 22, I can wait to see where we end up 4 or 5 decades from now.

[Edited 2013-11-06 15:38:04]

777STL
Posts: 2770
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2004 8:22 am

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

The only one I could see happening, assuming the technology existed, is LHR-SYD. The others are either uneconomical, unnecessary, or both.
PHX based

burchfiel
Posts: 471
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:34 am

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

Uneconomical and unnecessary in 2013, yes. But Latin America and Asia may grow economically in the coming years to the point where nonstop flights could work.

FlyASAGuy2005
Posts: 3965
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:55 am

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

I was speaking with a guy in our performance engineering department just last week about this and between the two of us it'll come down to radical changes in engine and airframe technology. We've sort of hit a wall (sort of) and we're kind of at a pinnacle and only time will push that wall further out at this stage. I think we're a good 20 years away from that sort of stuff.

Only then would those flights be economically viable. Right now, the ULHs are VERY expensive. For one, it costs money to carry around that much fuel. Secondly, there are exactly zero airlines that's opted for the aux tank on the 77L. And it's for a reason.
What gets measured gets done.

lightsaber
Moderator
Posts: 13125
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:55 pm

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

 Quoting Burchfiel (Thread starter):LHR to SYD is 10,600 miles.

The only viable ULH route longer than 10k IMHO.

 Quoting 747megatop (Reply 3):Well, that could change once flying times come down drastically.

I've been waiting ever since Concorde entered service.

There is no engine for a supersonic transport and that would cost billions.
The only viable solution is JT8D powered Mach 1.3 business jets (pretty small jets, at that).
Unless the military frees up the F-119 for civilian use (minus augmentor and stealth). Who else thinks that is *very* unlikely? Not to mention they aren't cheap engines...

Nothing indicates

 Quoting Burchfiel (Reply 6):But Latin America and Asia may grow economically in the coming years to the point where nonstop flights could work.

It would take the establishment of major economic ties between Asia and Latin America. It could happen over the decades, but not for at least 15 years. Thus not with today's aircraft. Before that happened, HA would become strong on the route.

Lightsaber
You only have the first amendment with the 2nd. If you're not going to offend someone with what you say, you don't have the 1st.

tortugamon
Posts: 6787
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:14 pm

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

I think these routes will drop off pretty dramatically when alternative fuel is figured out. Imagine if you did not have to carry jetfuel how much lighter aircraft could be? Solar, fuel cell, compressed natural gas, miniature nuclear reactors for very large aircraft.

In the near term I think we will see a 9knm route pop up next decade. SYD-ORD/JFK would be my guess.

tortugamon

rwessel
Posts: 2448
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:47 pm

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

 Quoting tortugamon (Reply 9):I think these routes will drop off pretty dramatically when alternative fuel is figured out. Imagine if you did not have to carry jetfuel how much lighter aircraft could be? Solar, fuel cell, compressed natural gas, miniature nuclear reactors for very large aircraft.

Solar doesn't have to power density. CNG has volumetric density issues, as well as not having all that much greater an energy content per unit mass, even liquefied it has marginal density, and LNG is a PITA to handle. Fuel cells are neither an energy source or a prime mover, so you'd still need fuel, and then big and heavy electric motors to the extent that fuel cells might improve efficiency (by extracting more energy from the fuel you have a win), although big electric motors are still an issue. Hydrogen has nice energy content in mass terms, but is a huge PITA to store - even liquefied (and then the handling difficulties are approximately horrible), the volumetric energy density is terrible. And small nuclear reactors are going to face a number of problems, not least political.

Jet-A has excellent energy density in both mass and volume terms, not to mention being really cheap. We may not like it, but that's the way it is.

Flighty
Posts: 8829
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:07 am

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

Even SIN-USA made no sense. It cost a giant amount of money to toy around with that.

It's remarkable that 9000 miles ever got crossed. They got way ahead of themselves.

But, for what it's worth…

LHR-SYD: 10,573 mi
EZE-PEK: 11,983 mi
CHC-DUB: 11,741 mi
BKK-LIM: 12,257 mi

[Edited 2013-11-06 17:50:28]

Stitch
Posts: 24624
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:26 am

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

 Quoting Burchfiel (Thread starter):LHR to SYD is 10,600 miles.
 Quoting lightsaber (Reply 8):The only viable ULH route longer than 10k IMHO.

And I don't believe it is economically viable considering the benefits of doing a stop (less fuel burn and more payload lift).

As I noted in another thread, the Great Circle track between LHR and SYD and LHR-HKG-SYD are nearly identical and the travelled distance is three kilometers different. Now, Great Circle is not representative of actual flight routing, you're still going to save a fair bit of fuel making the stop and you'll be able to carry more payload.

And as we move to GPS-based navigation with more free-form routings that more closely conform to the Great Circle routing...

HAL
Posts: 1751
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2002 1:38 am

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

 Quoting Burchfiel (Thread starter):However, the Earth's circumference at the equator is roughly 24,901 miles, meaning the longest great circle route you could see would be about 12,450 miles.

It looks like LIM - PNH is 12,312 sm. It would be pretty tough to find many other city pairs that far apart.

Not that there are any travelers on that route. Like it was mentioned above, I really think LHR-SYD and LHR-AKL are probably the only routes that are even remotely viable at this range. And given the current economics of available long-haul aircraft, it won't be happening any time soon.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.

UALWN
Posts: 2177
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:27 pm

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

 Quoting HAL (Reply 13):It looks like LIM - PNH is 12,312 sm. It would be pretty tough to find many other city pairs that far apart.
LCG-CHC is 12392 mi long. They are very close to being antipodal to each other. It's funny to see how you can route LCG-XXX-CHC with XXX being any airport in the world (say KEF, ANC, CPT, NRT, LAX) and get a total mileage within 50 or 60 mi of the great circle route.

[Edited 2013-11-06 19:40:03]
AT7/111/146/Avro/CRJ/CR9/EMB/ERJ/E75/F50/100/L15/DC9/D10/M8X/717/727/737/747/757/767/777/787/AB6/310/32X/330/340/380

7BOEING7
Posts: 2585
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:28 pm

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

 Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 7):Secondly, there are exactly zero airlines that's opted for the aux tank on the 77L

Not true, EAD had them removed and I believe ACN still has them (fuel capacity listed for their LR's is 202K liters--3 tanks).

The second PIA airplane had 3 tanks installed for the record flight from HKG-LHR -- 11,664 nm (record), 12,173nm (flown), 22hrs 42mins. The airplane landed in LHR with enough fuel left to get it to TOU and land with adequate reserves so in a low density premium cost configuration LHR-SYD might be within reason.

 Quoting Stitch (Reply 12):And as we move to GPS-based navigation with more free-form routings that more closely conform to the Great Circle routing...

In many cases we're already there, the problem among other things is the winds don't want to cooperate most of the time so the best route is hardly ever a Great Circle.

jetblueguy22
Posts: 2795
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:26 am

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

 Quoting 747megatop (Reply 3): Per EADS we are a good 30 to 40 years away from hypersonic flight

Although I hope that is true, I'm pretty skeptical. Someone else mentioned Concorde and I think that it is a great example. You have an aircraft that was a huge step forward and here we are 40 years later with aircraft flying about the same speed as when Concorde was first introduced. Technology is advancing fast, but is it fast enough to help minimize a sonic boom and do it efficiently within 30-40 years? I'm not sure.

 Quoting Burchfiel (Reply 4):However, given how nonstop routes have become progressively longer and longer over the last 40 or 50 years, I think there's a chance that these increases will continue and result in nonstop routes that aren't at all feasible at this point. It may take a massive shift in aircraft technology, such as the change from propeller aircraft to jet aircraft, or it might simply be the result of gradual improvements in fuel efficiency or speed. But I'm 22, I can wait to see where we end up 4 or 5 decades from now.

Routes have gotten longer, but you also have airlines being a lot more realistic than they were 40 years ago. Gone are the days of prestige flights and buying an aircraft just because it is the new shiny kid on the block. We will see a gradual increase in efficiency over time, but I'm skeptical as to if it means we have common 10-12,000 routes. I think it would be neat, but I'm just skeptical is all.
Pat
Look at sweatpants guy. This is a 90 million dollar aircraft, not a Tallahassee strip club

trijetsonly
Posts: 419
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:38 pm

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

I would go for the *Alliance-Shuttle:

SIN-BOG: 11995sm, 10424nm

I have been on a BOG-FRA flight some yeas ago and lets say 80% of the passengers were connecting via FRA to east and south-east Asia... So there is a demand.

[Edited 2013-11-07 03:56:54]
Happy Landings

s4popo
Posts: 172
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:36 am

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

This thread got me thinking about a possible MIA-SYD flight that's "only" 8113nm. Obviously, there's no demand or a business case for this flight today, but how about a MIA-PPT-SYD route? PPT is literally right on a direct route from MIA to SYD. I suppose you would also need the route authority on the PPT-SYD segment. I don't know if there's enough demand from the Caribbean and/or Central America. I have no doubt that a direct MIA-PPT flight would stimulate demand, but how much is the question?

I also thought about a possible MIA-IPC-SYD route, but that would be ~400nm longer vs a direct MIA-SYD.

Max Q
Posts: 5953
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

Are you using nautical or statute miles ?

The only standard of importance here is nautical.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.

NWAROOSTER
Posts: 1075
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 2:29 pm

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

Flights of the lengths being discussed in this thread are realistically not practical to operate.. For the first quarter to half of the flight, you are tankering a lot of fuel which has weight and costs money to carry on the aircraft. It also does not produce any revenue, but adds to the cost of of the flight. Then you have the extra flight crews that must be carried, both pilots and flight attendants. It costs money in extra salaries and extra fuel to have them on the aircraft. Also, you have the lost space on the aircraft due to the crew rest areas that must be provided along with the fact that the rest areas may add weight to the aircraft. These may reduce the the passenger capacity and affect the profitability of the aircraft on other routes. Then you have the extra weight for food and beverages that need to be carried along with the extra weight required hold the waste from using the toilets along with the extra fluids and other supplies needed to operate them.
Having a technical stop to refuel and service the aircraft along with a change in the flight crew of the aircraft would maybe add about one hour to the flight but add up to thousands of dollars savings in operating the flight on a non stop basis.
The only disadvantage of making a technical stop is that the flight crew could write up a problem that would cause a delay due to a repair which may need to be made to the aircraft that could not be delayed and be MELed until the aircraft reaches its final designation.
Realistically, the airlines need to decide if flights of these lengths are really worth the cost needed to operate them.
Procrastination Is The Theft Of Time.......

burchfiel
Posts: 471
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:34 am

### RE: First 10,000, 11,000, Or 12,000 Mile Flight

 Quoting Max Q (Reply 19):Are you using nautical or statute miles ?

Statute miles, as those are the ones that show up in you frequent flier account.

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