Dubai |By A Staff Reporter | 15-05-2001
An Emirates airliner has flown over the North Pole in one of the longest flights in the airline's history - 7,250 nautical miles in 15 hours and 20 minutes.
Photo © Ralph Kunadt
Data collected during the journey - equivalent to a Dubai-Los Angeles flight - will provide Emirates with information to be used in planning its future trans-Atlantic services. The chilly route was also a routine Airbus delivery into a full-scale evaluation for the launch of the long-range services on air routes through the Polar regions.
It all began when the airline's latest Airbus A330, set a course for Dubai via the North Pole, and notched up a list of firsts for the airline, Airbus and the UAE.
Photo © Chris Waser
After leaving the Airbus factory at Toulouse, it flew over Amsterdam, Trondheim, Svarlbard, Spitzbergen and on to the North Pole, where it made a 30-minute circuit to study the behaviour of its navigation systems.
The flight crew included UAE national First Officer Khalid Namat, possibly the country's first commercial pilot to see the North Pole from the air. The evaluation flight was the airline's first in Russian airspace and the first to exchange information with air traffic control via automated data links instead of voice radio. It also tested new navigation technology.
The mission also studied crew rest requirements for long-haul flights of up to 22 hours. Captain Paul Ridley, who commanded the flight, said, "It has shown us how many new areas we need to address as we transform ourselves into a global airline.
"For example, Russian airspace is is divided into many regions, which creates complex additional airways, increasing flight times and fuel consumption. We hope to work with the Russians to obtain shorter, more direct routes, reduce flight times and so be able to carry more passengers and cargo."
The flight also provided information on long-haul flight planning, overflight clearances, aeromedical issues, fuel behaviour at low temperatures, new navigational procedures and systems, flight deck task-sharing and the use of the Medlink "radio doctor" service.
Captain Mike O'Grady, Emirates General Manager of Flight Operations (technical) said, "Where possible, we use simulators to assess new procedures and technologies before introducing them on flights carrying customers.
Photo © Paul Dopson
"High Arctic operations are completely new, not just for Emirates but for most world airlines. They open up areas of little-used airspace, paving the way for non-stop flights to the U.S. west coast.
"This test and acceptance flight allowed us to explore issues exclusive to the ultra-long-haul routes over the Pole which will help Emirates transform itself from a regional to a global airline."
Photo © Fred Albrecht
ITS AMAZING ISNT IT ? THIS WAS THE FIRST A330 TO CROSS THE NORTH POLE ....