Federal Flight Deck Officers: The airline pilots trained to shoot hijackers

Thousands of US airline pilots carry guns in the cockpit. Why do they do it – and how are they trained?

Every year, hundreds of American pilots head to Artesia, New Mexico, to learn new skills.

The training lasts 56 hours, spread across five days. Up to 48 people are in each class.

They are normal pilots, working for normal airlines: Delta, for example, or United, or Southwest.

But they’re not learning about new planes, or new rules. They’re learning how to shoot hijackers.

Seventeen years ago, in the space of 74 minutes, four American planes were hijacked. The date was 11 September 2001.

A year later, the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act was passed, allowing US pilots – working for US airlines – to carry guns in the cockpit.

The first class of Federal Flight Deck Officers, as the gun-carrying pilots are known, graduated in April 2003. Classes have run ever since.

Despite that, the programme isn’t widely-known. Last month, when talking about teachers having guns, President Trump said “a lot of people don’t understand” that some pilots are armed.

So what are the chances of your pilot packing heat?

The US government does not reveal how many pilots are armed, only saying “thousands” have been trained. The names of those involved are kept secret.

The BBC spoke to one American pilot who estimates around one in 10 of the United States’ 125,000 commercial pilots is armed. “Maybe less,” he says.

The programme is voluntary. Training is free – as is the gun – but armed pilots aren’t paid extra. Most people in Artesia take annual leave to be there.

“I’ve met hundreds of them,” says Eric Sarandrea, deputy director of the Federal Air Marshal Service, which oversees the programme. “The first words out of my mouth are ‘thank you’.”

Sarandrea – who was working across the street from the World Trade Center on 9/11 – says the majority of FFDOs are, like him, ex-military (he spent four years as a US army paratrooper).

“They are patriots,” he says. “They’re concerned about the safety and security of their passengers. They really take it to heart.”

Training begins in the classroom, before moving to a shooting range. Students learn to shoot from seating and standing positions, and prepare for hijackers trying to steal their gun.

The pilots are trained not to be drawn out of the cockpit – “They want that door bolted shut, get the aircraft on the ground,” says Sarandrea – and they also learn the rules on storing the guns.

Inside the cockpit, pilots carry the guns in a hip holster. Outside, they must be transported in locked boxes.

“Their [the pilots’] authority lies within the flight deck,” says the deputy director. “They can’t be walking around to the stores or the malls with the firearm on their person.”

Armed pilots must be in it for the long haul. After graduating in New Mexico, the FFDOs have training every six months. And, every five years, there’s a two-day refresher.

All this, and not an extra cent in their wages.

“There’s not much we can do for them apart from say ‘thank you’,” says Sarandrea. “We send them a certificate of appreciation every five years. When they retire, we give them a memento.”

A US plane has not been hijacked since 9/11, so an FFDO has never used their weapon deliberately. (In 2008, a pilot shot a hole in the cockpit while trying to stow his gun).

But globally, there have been 55 plane hijackings since 2001.

In the US, some high-risk flights – those going to risky places, or carrying passengers on watch-lists – have armed air marshals. The marshals, who have at least four months’ initial training, stay in the cabin.

The armed pilots are another layer of protection, and a cheaper one. In 2013, the pilots’ union Alpa said it cost the government $17 to put an FFDO on a flight – compared to $3,000 (£2,100) for a marshal.

Sarandrea says both air marshals, and armed pilots, are an important deterrent for terrorists who dream of another 9/11.

“I stay in touch with counterparts around the world, and we believe there’s a cycle to it,” he says. “With Isil, and Al-Qaeda, there’s a fixation on aviation. For me – and it’s a personal opinion – it’s the crown jewel [for terrorists].

“Get on board an aircraft, take control of it, you’ll be the number one terrorist organisation in the world.”

No other countries arm their pilots, as far as Sarandrea knows, and some countries don’t accept armed pilots on their territory. But most do.

“If you want to be on the visa waiver programme [allowing easier access to the US] you need an air marshal agreement in place,” he says. “For the most part, we don’t have a challenge.”

But what about passengers who object? People who don’t want guns in the cockpit? Travellers who worry about an armed pilot with mental health problems, or worse?

“The TSA [the government agency] is very strong on perpetual vetting,” says Sarandrea.

“Anyone with access to aviation or transportation, there’s continual vetting that goes on. And we don’t just work closely with the FFDOs – we also talk to the airline.

“So if an airline says ‘Hey, we have a challenge with this employee,’ they know who their FFDOs are, so they will contact us.

“If there’s a concern, we pull them out of the air, and we take their equipment. We do that very quickly – no matter where they are in the world.”

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    The pilots’ unions support the programme – the main one, Alpa, wants the government to increase funding from around $20m to $25m a year – and the courses are over-subscribed.

    Bill Cason has been a pilot for more than 20 years, and is president of the Federal Flight Deck Officers Association – although, because of the programme’s rules, cannot say whether he is an FFDO himself.

    Cason says the volunteer officers represent “what is best in our national character”. The training is rigorous, Cason says, in order “to deter, and ultimately defeat, another 9/11 style attack against the flying public and our precious cargo”.

    And that 74-minute period, on a September day 17 years ago, will not be forgotten soon.

    “It’s still something that’s in the back of the pilots’ mind,” says Sarandrea. “They think ‘I might have to be concerned with this’. And you never know.”

Australia-UK: First non-stop flight arrives in London from Perth

The first scheduled non-stop flight between Australia and the UK has touched down in London’s Heathrow Airport.

Qantas Flight QF9 completed its 14,498km (9,009-mile) journey from Perth in just over 17 hours.

It is part of ambitious plans by Qantas to add ultra long-haul flights to its schedules.

The Australian flag carrier’s Chief Executive, Alan Joyce, has called the new service a “game-changing route”.

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    Speaking at an event ahead of the inaugural flight, he said the earliest Qantas flights between Australia and the UK – known as the “kangaroo route” – had taken four days and involved seven stops.

    Western Australia’s state government is also hoping to see an increase in tourist numbers as a result of the new direct route.

    The historic flight, on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner carrying more than 200 passengers and 16 crew, departed from Perth at 18:49 local time on Saturday.

    Skip Twitter post by @Qantas

    A momentous occasion on the flight deck of #QF9#QantasDreamliner pic.twitter.com/dRTh79ZxUb

    — Qantas (@Qantas) March 24, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @Qantas

    Michael Smith, a pilot and author who was a passenger on the flight, said it removed the “drudgery” of changing planes and disturbing sleep.

    He told BBC Breakfast: “This way you get on in one place and land where you want to to go.”

    Mr Smith said the aviation “holy grail” would be to fly direct from the east coast of Australia to London or New York.

    One man, who said he and his partner fly from Australia every year to visit family in Barton-on-Sea, Hampshire, said the trip “flew by”.

    He said: “It was amazing, the best flight we ever had, we feel fresh as daisies.”

    Another man said: “It was great not to have the stop and 17 hours was very comfortable.”

    One woman returning to the UK said there had been a “lot of excitement” on board.

    She said not having the stop “made such a difference”, adding: “You want to get back, you don’t want to be hanging around terminals.”

    To minimise the discomfort of such a long flight, the plane is equipped with features that provide improved air quality and lower cabin noise.

    Some of the passengers agreed to share data on their sleeping and activity patterns with researchers from the University of Sydney.

    They wore special monitors and devices that also recorded data about their mental state, eating patterns and hydration levels.

    Some aviation fans in the UK were up early tracking the plane’s flight path and anticipating its landing.

    Skip Twitter post by @evansjrichard

    @Qantas not long to go! pic.twitter.com/jkRTdbwhQr

    — Richard Evans (@evansjrichard) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @evansjrichard

    “We have a touchdown!!” wrote Twitter user Andrew Leong, who said it was “a milestone in the aviation industry”.

    Another user, Leigh Mason, said the achievement was “amazing”, adding: “Hope to fly this one day.”

    The Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, tweeted on arrival in London: “A new era of travel and opportunities for Western Australia’s economy has officially begun.”

    Those arriving in London in the early hours following their historic flight shared images of the welcome they received at Heathrow Airport.

    Skip Twitter post by @AusAviation

    A warm and cheery welcome on a chilly Sunday morning at #London Heathrow for those arriving on #Qantas flight #QF9 from #Perth #qfdreamliner pic.twitter.com/5TMzIC4FYo

    — Australian Aviation (@AusAviation) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @AusAviation

    The new Perth-London flight is around three hours faster than other routes that involve stops in the Middle East to change planes or refuel.

    The flight is the world’s second-longest after Qatar Airways’ route from Doha to Auckland, which spans 14,529km, according to the International Air Transport Association.

    Other carriers, including Emirates and United Airlines, have also flown non-stop journeys greater than 14,000km.

    In 2017, United Airlines launched a route from Los Angeles to Singapore, offering the longest-distance non-stop flight available from the US.

    But Singapore Airlines has provided the world’s longest flight, travelling more than 15,300km from Singapore to New York on a direct route that was discontinued in 2013.

Australia-UK: First non-stop flight arrives in London from Perth

The first scheduled non-stop flight between Australia and the UK has touched down in London’s Heathrow Airport.

Qantas Flight QF9 completed its 14,498km (9,009-mile) journey from Perth in just over 17 hours.

The airline is using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which is twice as fuel-efficient as the Boeing 747.

It is part of ambitious plans by Qantas to add ultra long-haul flights to its schedules.

The Australian flag carrier’s Chief Executive, Alan Joyce, has called the new Perth-London service a “game-changing route”.

Western Australia’s state government is also hoping to see an increase in tourist numbers as a result of the new direct route.

The historic flight, carrying more than 200 passengers and 16 crew, departed from Perth at 18:49 local time on Saturday.

Skip Twitter post by @Qantas

A momentous occasion on the flight deck of #QF9#QantasDreamliner pic.twitter.com/dRTh79ZxUb

— Qantas (@Qantas) March 24, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @Qantas

Michael Smith, a pilot and author who was a passenger on the flight, said it removed the “drudgery” of changing planes and disturbing sleep.

He told BBC Breakfast: “This way you get on in one place and land where you want to to go.”

Mr Smith said the aviation “holy grail” would be to fly direct from the east coast of Australia to London or New York.

One man, who said he and his partner fly from Australia every year to visit family in Barton-on-Sea, Hampshire, said the trip “flew by”.

He said: “It was amazing, the best flight we ever had, we feel fresh as daisies.”

Another man said: “It was great not to have the stop and 17 hours was very comfortable.”

One woman returning to the UK said there had been a “lot of excitement” on board.

She said not having the stop “made such a difference”, adding: “You want to get back, you don’t want to be hanging around terminals.”

To minimise the discomfort of such a long flight, the plane is equipped with features that provide improved air quality and lower cabin noise.

Some of the passengers agreed to share data on their sleeping and activity patterns with researchers from the University of Sydney.

They wore special monitors and devices that also recorded data about their mental state, eating patterns and hydration levels.

Some aviation fans in the UK were up early tracking the plane’s flight path and anticipating its landing.

Skip Twitter post by @evansjrichard

@Qantas not long to go! pic.twitter.com/jkRTdbwhQr

— Richard Evans (@evansjrichard) March 25, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @evansjrichard

“We have a touchdown!!” wrote Twitter user Andrew Leong, who said it was “a milestone in the aviation industry”.

Another user, Leigh Mason, said the achievement was “amazing”, adding: “Hope to fly this one day.”

The Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, tweeted on arrival in London: “A new era of travel and opportunities for Western Australia’s economy has officially begun.”

Those arriving in London in the early hours following their historic flight shared images of the welcome they received at Heathrow Airport.

Skip Twitter post by @AusAviation

A warm and cheery welcome on a chilly Sunday morning at #London Heathrow for those arriving on #Qantas flight #QF9 from #Perth #qfdreamliner pic.twitter.com/5TMzIC4FYo

— Australian Aviation (@AusAviation) March 25, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @AusAviation

The new Perth-London flight is around three hours faster than other routes that involve stops in the Middle East to change planes or refuel.

The flight is the world’s second-longest after Qatar Airways’ route from Doha to Auckland, which spans 14,529km, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Other carriers, including Emirates and United Airlines, have also flown non-stop journeys greater than 14,000km.

In 2017, United Airlines launched a route from Los Angeles to Singapore, offering the longest-distance non-stop flight available from the US.

But Singapore Airlines has provided the world’s longest flight, travelling more than 15,300km from Singapore to New York on a direct route that was discontinued in 2013.

Australia-UK: First non-stop flight arrives in London from Perth

The first scheduled non-stop flight between Australia and the UK has touched down in London’s Heathrow Airport.

Qantas Flight QF9 completed its 14,498km (9,009-mile) journey from Perth in just over 17 hours.

The airline is using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which is twice as fuel-efficient as the Boeing 747.

It is part of ambitious plans by Qantas to add ultra long-haul flights to its schedules.

The Australian flag carrier’s Chief Executive, Alan Joyce, has called the new Perth-London service a “game-changing route”.

Western Australia’s state government is also hoping to see an increase in tourist numbers as a result of the new direct route.

The historic flight, carrying more than 200 passengers and 16 crew, departed from Perth at 18:49 local time on Saturday.

Skip Twitter post by @Qantas

A momentous occasion on the flight deck of #QF9#QantasDreamliner pic.twitter.com/dRTh79ZxUb

— Qantas (@Qantas) March 24, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @Qantas

Michael Smith, a pilot and author who was a passenger on the flight, said it removed the “drudgery” of changing planes and disturbing sleep.

He told BBC Breakfast: “This way you get on in one place and land where you want to to go.”

Mr Smith said the aviation “holy grail” would be to fly direct from the east coast of Australia to London or New York.

One man, who said he and his partner fly from Australia every year to visit family in Barton-on-Sea, Hampshire, said the trip “flew by”.

He said: “It was amazing, the best flight we ever had, we feel fresh as daisies.”

Another man said: “It was great not to have the stop and 17 hours was very comfortable.”

One woman returning to the UK said there had been a “lot of excitement” on board.

She said not having the stop “made such a difference”, adding: “You want to get back, you don’t want to be hanging around terminals.”

To minimise the discomfort of such a long flight, the plane is equipped with features that provide improved air quality and lower cabin noise.

Some of the passengers agreed to share data on their sleeping and activity patterns with researchers from the University of Sydney.

They wore special monitors and devices that also recorded data about their mental state, eating patterns and hydration levels.

Some aviation fans in the UK were up early tracking the plane’s flight path and anticipating its landing.

Skip Twitter post by @evansjrichard

@Qantas not long to go! pic.twitter.com/jkRTdbwhQr

— Richard Evans (@evansjrichard) March 25, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @evansjrichard

“We have a touchdown!!” wrote Twitter user Andrew Leong, who said it was “a milestone in the aviation industry”.

Another user, Leigh Mason, said the achievement was “amazing”, adding: “Hope to fly this one day.”

The Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, tweeted on arrival in London: “A new era of travel and opportunities for Western Australia’s economy has officially begun.”

Those arriving in London in the early hours following their historic flight shared images of the welcome they received at Heathrow Airport.

Skip Twitter post by @AusAviation

A warm and cheery welcome on a chilly Sunday morning at #London Heathrow for those arriving on #Qantas flight #QF9 from #Perth #qfdreamliner pic.twitter.com/5TMzIC4FYo

— Australian Aviation (@AusAviation) March 25, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @AusAviation

The new Perth-London flight is around three hours faster than other routes that involve stops in the Middle East to change planes or refuel.

The flight is the world’s second-longest after Qatar Airways’ route from Doha to Auckland, which spans 14,529km, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Other carriers, including Emirates and United Airlines, have also flown non-stop journeys greater than 14,000km.

In 2017, United Airlines launched a route from Los Angeles to Singapore, offering the longest-distance non-stop flight available from the US.

But Singapore Airlines has provided the world’s longest flight, travelling more than 15,300km from Singapore to New York on a direct route that was discontinued in 2013.

The evolution of UK-Australia travel into a single flight

Qantas will begin the first non-stop flights between Australia and the United Kingdom on Saturday. The 17-hour trip is a departure from an era when glamorous perceptions masked the tedium of a days-long journey. Now, as Julian Lorkin reports from Sydney, much focus is on the body clock.

In less than a century, travelling from Australia to the UK has evolved from a six-week sea voyage to just a single flight taking 17 hours.

There will be no stopovers on 24 March, when Flight QF9 leaves from Perth, Western Australia’s capital, at 18:45 local time for London.

It returns as QF10 on 25 March, leaving Heathrow at 13.30 local time and arriving the next day.

The 14,498km (9,000 miles) service will be the first non-stop link between the nations.

How long did it take in the early days?

The first trip on the so-called “Kangaroo Route” started in 1935. That journey had 10 major stopovers and 21 more refuelling stops over a distance of 20,525km (12,700 miles).

The co-pilot of the tiny De Havilland 86 handed out sandwiches, and the fare cost the equivalent of around A$18,000 (£10,000; $14,000) today.

By 1938, “flying boats” flew from Sydney for Southampton – a trip that lasted nine days. Cabins were so spacious that passengers could stroll around and smoke.

Over the decades stopovers reduced, but the first flights that modern travellers would recognise started in 1971.

With two stopovers, Qantas Boeing 747 passengers were advised to bring “several books”. The “Captain Cook Lounge” bar behind the cockpit provided the only other entertainment, the airline said.

Why can we fly direct now?

The route uses the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which is twice as fuel efficient as the Boeing 747. It also improves cabin air pressure.

“Non-stop flights have been talked about for many years, but aircraft technology has only just caught up,” said Dr Dean Wilkie, a consumer marketing expert from the University of Adelaide.

  • Qantas announces non-stop London to Perth route
  • The low-cost airline changing the way we fly
  • Can long-haul air travel also be low cost?

    The flight will be the world’s second-longest after Qatar Airways’ route from Doha to Auckland, which spans 14,529km, according to the International Air Transport Association.

    Other carriers, including Emirates and United Airlines, have also flown non-stop journeys greater than 14,000km.

    As technology advances make ultra-long flights more economically viable, other challengers are expected.

    Singapore Airlines plans to claim back the coveted longest-flight trophy, with a 15,300km journey between Singapore and New York.

    It once flew that route using Airbus A340-500s, but stopped in 2013 because the four-engine plane was inefficient.

    Airbus is refining the A350, and its latest model will have a range of about 17,960km. That puts the prospect of an even longer route – such as Sydney to London – within reach.

    Who benefits from this route?

    The Western Australia (WA) state government is expecting an increase in tourist numbers after an advertising blitz in London that calls on people to “wake up in Western Australia”.

    The state has entered into a A$5.7m (£3.2m GBP) marketing agreement with Qantas, including screens showing the highlights of WA at London’s Liverpool Street station.

    According to state Tourism Minister Paul Papalia, “the campaign encourages travel into regional WA, as well as [local attractions] Rottnest Island, Elizabeth Quay and Perth’s beaches”.

    Qantas potentially has an untapped market, according to Dr Wilkie.

    “The UK is a standout market for Qantas, but many tourists never consider Western Australia. Now they’ll get to see Perth too,” he told the BBC. Melbourne will also benefit from a connecting flight.

    Fierce competition from Asia-based airlines should also put pressure on fares, Dr Wilkie said.

    What’s it like flying for 17 hours in economy?

    Singapore Airlines abandoned its previous flight to New York after deciding that 19 hours was too much to tolerate in economy. A move to convert the entire aircraft into business class was not financially sustainable.

    Now experts are looking at ways to minimise the toll that long-haul flights can have on passengers in economy.

    Prof Steve Simpson, from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, works with Qantas to study the impact of such a long flight on the human body. He describes it a test of human endurance.

    “Your circadian rhythm takes cues off food and light, and this flight disrupts it,” he said.

    He said that’s why flight attendants typically lower window shades and serve meals at destination times – a move that often surprises passengers.

    Twenty people on the inaugural UK-Australia flight will be wired into monitors to check how their bodies are coping, including their temperature, which is crucial for sleeping.

    “It will be 22C (72F) when people board, but 4C lower mid-flight, which tricks the body to change their internal clock,” he said.

    Passengers can also use strategies to help themselves, he added.

    “Get up really early a few days before the flight. Have an early lunch at [the airport], maybe at 10am,” he said.

    “The first meal on the plane becomes dinner. You’ll sleep, even though it’s only 4pm.”

The evolution of UK-Australia travel into a single flight

Qantas will begin the first non-stop flights between Australia and the United Kingdom on Saturday. The 17-hour trip is a departure from an era when glamorous perceptions masked the tedium of a days-long journey. Now, as Julian Lorkin reports from Sydney, much focus is on the body clock.

In less than a century, travelling from Australia to the UK has evolved from a six-week sea voyage to just a single flight taking 17 hours.

There will be no stopovers on 24 March, when Flight QF9 leaves from Perth, Western Australia’s capital, at 18:45 local time for London.

It returns as QF10 on 25 March, leaving Heathrow at 13.30 local time and arriving the next day.

The 14,498km (9,000 miles) service will be the first non-stop link between the nations.

How long did it take in the early days?

The first trip on the so-called “Kangaroo Route” started in 1935. That journey had 10 major stopovers and 21 more refuelling stops over a distance of 20,525km (12,700 miles).

The co-pilot of the tiny De Havilland 86 handed out sandwiches, and the fare cost the equivalent of around A$18,000 (£10,000; $14,000) today.

By 1938, “flying boats” flew from Sydney for Southampton – a trip that lasted nine days. Cabins were so spacious that passengers could stroll around and smoke.

Over the decades stopovers reduced, but the first flights that modern travellers would recognise started in 1971.

With two stopovers, Qantas Boeing 747 passengers were advised to bring “several books”. The “Captain Cook Lounge” bar behind the cockpit provided the only other entertainment, the airline said.

Why can we fly direct now?

The route uses the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which is twice as fuel efficient as the Boeing 747. It also improves cabin air pressure.

“Non-stop flights have been talked about for many years, but aircraft technology has only just caught up,” said Dr Dean Wilkie, a consumer marketing expert from the University of Adelaide.

  • Qantas announces non-stop London to Perth route
  • The low-cost airline changing the way we fly
  • Can long-haul air travel also be low cost?

    The flight will be the world’s second-longest after Qatar Airways’ route from Doha to Auckland, which spans 14,529km, according to the International Air Transport Association.

    Other carriers, including Emirates and United Airlines, have also flown non-stop journeys greater than 14,000km.

    As technology advances make ultra-long flights more economically viable, other challengers are expected.

    Singapore Airlines plans to claim back the coveted longest-flight trophy, with a 15,300km journey between Singapore and New York.

    It once flew that route using Airbus A340-500s, but stopped in 2013 because the four-engine plane was inefficient.

    Airbus is refining the A350, and its latest model will have a range of about 17,960km. That puts the prospect of an even longer route – such as Sydney to London – within reach.

    Who benefits from this route?

    The Western Australia (WA) state government is expecting an increase in tourist numbers after an advertising blitz in London that calls on people to “wake up in Western Australia”.

    The state has entered into a A$5.7m (£3.2m GBP) marketing agreement with Qantas, including screens showing the highlights of WA at London’s Liverpool Street station.

    According to state Tourism Minister Paul Papalia, “the campaign encourages travel into regional WA, as well as [local attractions] Rottnest Island, Elizabeth Quay and Perth’s beaches”.

    Qantas potentially has an untapped market, according to Dr Wilkie.

    “The UK is a standout market for Qantas, but many tourists never consider Western Australia. Now they’ll get to see Perth too,” he told the BBC. Melbourne will also benefit from a connecting flight.

    Fierce competition from Asia-based airlines should also put pressure on fares, Dr Wilkie said.

    What’s it like flying for 17 hours in economy?

    Singapore Airlines abandoned its previous flight to New York after deciding that 19 hours was too much to tolerate in economy. A move to convert the entire aircraft into business class was not financially sustainable.

    Now experts are looking at ways to minimise the toll that long-haul flights can have on passengers in economy.

    Prof Steve Simpson, from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, works with Qantas to study the impact of such a long flight on the human body. He describes it a test of human endurance.

    “Your circadian rhythm takes cues off food and light, and this flight disrupts it,” he said.

    He said that’s why flight attendants typically lower window shades and serve meals at destination times – a move that often surprises passengers.

    Twenty people on the inaugural UK-Australia flight will be wired into monitors to check how their bodies are coping, including their temperature, which is crucial for sleeping.

    “It will be 22C (72F) when people board, but 4C lower mid-flight, which tricks the body to change their internal clock,” he said.

    Passengers can also use strategies to help themselves, he added.

    “Get up really early a few days before the flight. Have an early lunch at [the airport], maybe at 10am,” he said.

    “The first meal on the plane becomes dinner. You’ll sleep, even though it’s only 4pm.”

Is the future of aviation sky taxis and flying cars?

The twin demands of overcrowded, gridlocked cities and climate change are inspiring a radical rethink of how we get around.

Are flying cars, autonomous sky taxis and electric engines the stuff of dreams, or are we entering a third age of aviation?

TAP HERE to read more.

Read more from the BBC’s series The Disruptors here.