Airservices Australia took months to plan inaugural flight of #QF9 to London

Image Source: Airservices Australia/Qantas

Airserves Australia has provided a news article on how a dedicated team of air traffic controllers co-ordinated with Qantas over the inaugural 14,498km (9.009mi) flight of #QF9 from Perth to London for months.

The press release details how the controllers were aware the 787 was at it’s maximum take-off weight of 254,000kg (559,974lbs). It was carrying 110,000 litres (29,060 gallons/242,508lbs) of fuel and 260 passengers and 16 crew. The 11 minute taxi from the terminal to the holding point used 500 litres (132 gallons/1102lbs) of fuel on it’s own. The 787 then took 50 seconds to get airborne.

#QF9 had some initial bumps on it’s ascent due to ex Tropical Cyclone Marcus before climbing out at around 500km/h (310mph) to 34,000 feet. The flight was then handed off to Melbourne Centre when it was 60km (37m) offshore.

The flight didnt follow a traditional fixed route, but was a “user preferred route which is modelled by Qantas’ flight planning system. It calculates the most efficient path taking into consideration wind speed and direction, turbulence, temperature, aircraft type and performance.”

Airserves Australia Service Manager Alby Goodsell also said, “Being so far away from land, voice communications are challenging so we use a special system which is best described as a high-tech, long-range SMS service. It’s a really effective and efficient way of communicating with the pilots.”

“The crew were constantly monitoring the 787s performance especially fuel burn. Some hours into the flight they’d burnt enough fuel and were light enough to climb higher to further improve efficiency. Jet engines are more efficient at higher altitudes, which again helps manage fuel burn and flight time.

“Over 4,500km (2,796mi) later it was then time to hand the aircraft over to the Colombo ATC team.”

The full Airservices article can be found here.