Airbus Flight Record: 16 Hours on a Narrow-body Plane
Quick! Think of the longest flight you’ve ever taken on one of Airbus’ A320 family of narrow-body jets.
Five hours? Maybe six?
For one set of Airbus test pilots the answer is 16 hours, 10 minutes.
Airbus' new ACJ319neo corporate jet clocked that jaw-dropping flight time on a Friday test flight that took the aircraft from Toulouse in southern France to northern Greenland and back.
Airbus says the flight was the longest ever operated by one of its crews on the A320 family of jets. Airbus’ previous record for the A320 family was a 15-hour, 15-minute ACJ319 flight from Santiago, Chile, to Paris flown in 1999.
The European jetmaker described Friday’s recording-breaking trip with as “an endurance flight that included a simulated diversion.”
The flight of the new ACJ319neo variant came just two days after the aircraft took off on its maiden flight on Wednesday. That flight – much shorter at one hour, 55 minutes – began “a short flight-test program to verify its corporate jet features,” according to a statement from Airbus.
The first ACJ319neo is destined for K5 Aviation of Germany, which offers “individually tailored management and commercial charter services for long-range aircraft,” according to the company's website.
K5 intends to install a “VVIP” (very VIP) cabin interior on the jet.
“We want to fly customers to their destination using the quickest routes, as well as delivering unsurpassed comfort and service, and it’s impressive to see such long-range capability at first hand,” Erik Scheidt, K5 Aviation CEO and chief pilot, said in a statement via Airbus. Scheidt participated in Friday's flight.
The ACJ319neo is equipped with five extra fuel tanks in its cargo hold to help extend its range, which stands at about 6,750 nautical miles (12,500 nautical kilometers) with eight passengers on board. Its nonstop city-pair routings include options like Los Angeles-Tokyo, Hong Kong-London and Dubai-Sydney, according to Airbus.