New Delhi: Air India, usually in the news for untoward incidences of all kind, finally seems to have registered itself in the good books after it flew non-stop over the Pacific Ocean for 14.5 hours.

The Air India flight bound from Delhi to San Francisco covered a distance of almost 15,300 kilometres. The Delhi-SFO flight was flying on the stretch of 13,900 km, 1,400 km longer than the route in Atlantic.

“The Earth rotates from west to east, and winds flow in that direction too. Flying west means facing strong headwinds (that decreases an aircraft’s actual ground speed), and flying east means getting strong tailwinds, which does the opposite,” said a senior AI official. “While taking the (western) Atlantic route to SFO, we usually face headwinds of 24kmph. This means that if our aircraft is doing 800kmph, its actual ground speed is 776kmph. Taking the (eastern) Pacific route will mean getting tailwinds of 138kmph, which make the aircraft have an actual ground speed of 938kmph,” the flight official said.

The Delhi to San Francisco flight route over the Pacific Ocean is one of the longest flight routes in the world, seconded only by the Emirates’ Dubai-Auckland which covers a distance of 14.120 km.

Captain Rajneesh Sharma, Gautam Verma, MA Khan and SM Palekar are overjoyed that they were able to accomplish a record with the crews.

“The aircraft took off from Delhi at 4am on Sunday (October 16) morning. We were in that date till Japan. After that, we crossed the international date line and were in October 15. By the time we landed in San Francisco, it was 6.30am on October 16,” a pilot said.

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