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Qantas completes longest nonstop New York-Sydney flight

SYDNEY (AP) — Australia’s Qantas on Sunday completed the first nonstop commercial flight from New York to Sydney, which was used to run a series of tests to assess the effects of ultra long-haul flights on crew fatigue and passenger jetlag.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner touched down in Sydney early Sunday morning after a flight of 19 hours and 16 minutes — the world’s longest.

Qantas said tests ranged from monitoring pilot brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness to exercise classes for passengers. A total of 49 people were on board, in order to minimize weight and give the necessary fuel range.

“Overall, we’re really happy with how the flight went and it’s great to have some of the data we need to help assess turning this into a regular service,” said Capt. Sean Golding, who led the four pilots.

The flight was part of Project Sunrise — Qantas’ goal to operate regular, nonstop commercial flights from Australia’s east coast cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York. Two more research flights are planned as part of the project evaluations – London to Sydney in November and another New York to Sydney in December.

“We know ultra long-haul flights pose some extra challenges but that’s been true every time technology has allowed us to fly farther. The research we’re doing should give us better strategies for improving comfort and wellbeing along the way,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

Night flights usually start with dinner and then lights off, but he said that for this flight, “we started with lunch and kept the lights on for the first six hours, to match the time of day at our destination. It means you start reducing the jetlag straight away.”

Professor Marie Carroll from the University of Sydney said she and fellow passengers did a lot of stretching and group exercises at prescribed intervals.

“We did the Macarena in the economy cabin,” she said.

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Colder and quiet rest of the week

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A good 20° swing Wednesday morning with temperatures in the lower to mid 20s this morning with feel-like temperatures in the teens. it will be a clear start then brighter heading through the rest of the morning and the afternoon! Sunshine won’t help us out too much in terms of temperatures today. Daytime highs should warm to the upper 30s. Wednesday night will be a cold one with lows in the lower 20s with a partly cloudy sky.

Thursday will be another cold one with highs struggling to reach 30°. It’ll still be a bright one with a mostly to partly sunny sky. A slow warming trend will start Friday with highs warming to the upper 30s with a mixture of sun and clouds.

This weekend will be split with a chance of showers arriving late in the day Sunday. Highs will continue to warm to the mid-40s Saturday with a partly sunny sky. Clouds return Sunday with showers later in the evening and overnight. Rain will continue through Monday. Tuesday looks to be a dry day for now then showers should return by midweek with highs in the mid 40s.

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