Four Pilots, 17+ Hours Plus Antarctica

The best way from Buenos Aires to Darwin is apparently via south Australia. Qantas flight QF14 “approached Australia from the south on Wednesday night, crossing the Great Australian Bight to then fly over the Red Centre to Darwin.” Traveller.com reports:

“The longest commercial flight in Qantas’ history landed in Darwin on Wednesday night after a route that took it from Buenos Aires over the coast of Antarctica on a near-18 hour long haul.

The repatriation flight was the return leg of a charter flight that carried Argentina’s rugby team home from Brisbane to Buenos Aires on Sunday after the 2021 Rugby Championship. The Department of Foreign Affairs were notified about the flight and worked with Qantas to use the returning plane to bring home Australians.

Flight QF14 took off from Buenos Aires at 12.44pm local time, 19 minutes behind schedule, but landed in Darwin five minutes early after a journey that took 17 hours, 25 minutes.”

With a view of Antarctica:

Captain Alex Passerini, Qantas’s chief technical pilot, said, “We’ll end up flying over the continent at around 73 or 74 south latitude, depending on the winds,” he said. “Hopefully the cloud cover will be kind to us and we can give our passengers a view.”

By comparison, in the north, 74 degrees north latitude crosses Novaya Zemlya in Siberia, here from Wikipedia:

And We Really Mean It

Here’s a short video: the Sydney Harbour Tunnel projects a massive stop sign onto a waterfall in front of trucks that are too big to enter.

 

Remarkable

Sydney Webcam

Sydney looks okay at midday Sunday local time. Click the screen shot for a webcam.

Australia Bakes

Screen grab from a story headlined Like a Furnace from Independent.co.uk.

“Highs of over 50C are expected, with meteorologists warning the heat could break the country’s existing record of 50.7C measured at Oodnadatta, South Australia, in 1960.”

50C is 122F. Below, stock photos from Broome, Sydney and Darwin.

That’s Leadership

“New South Wales state emergency services minister David Elliott said residents were facing what “could be the most dangerous bush fire week this nation has ever seen,” says NBC News.

Take a moment if you can to read an article in The Sydney Morning Herald about the “catastrophic” fires sweeping New South Wales, written by Greg Mullins, a former NSW Fire and Rescue commissioner. It’s titled This is not normal: what’s different about the NSW mega fires, and it’s frightening.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack had this reaction, according to SBS News:

On Monday, Mr McCormack launched an attack against the “disgraceful, disgusting” behaviour of people who linked climate change to the bushfires in NSW and Queensland.

“We’ve had fires in Australia since time began, and what people need now is sympathy, understanding, help and shelter … They don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time,” he told ABC.

And Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he’s too busy to care about the changing climate. From 10 Daily:

“The prime minister refused to address global warming on Saturday, instead saying he was only thinking of the victims, their families and the emergency services personnel fighting the fires.

When asked by a journalist if he accepted that the fires were in “some way linked to climate change”, Morrison answered:

“My only thoughts today are with those who have lost their lives and their families. The firefighters who are fighting the fires, the response effort that has to be delivered and how the Commonwealth has to responded in supporting those efforts.”

Qantas completes test of longest non-stop passenger flight

“The Boeing 787-9 with 49 people on board took 19 hours and 16 minutes to fly from New York to Sydney, a 16,200-km (10,066-mile) route,” says the BBC.

There are 409 photos from all over Australia at Earthphotos.com.

Global Awareness

Endeavor Found?

The ship Captain Cook used to ‘discover’ Australia may have been found — sunken in a U.S. harbor.

And while we’re down under (in more ways than one), how about a spin through 409 photos, like this one, from around Australia, at EarthPhotos.com.

China’s Got Them Rattled

First came the odd story of how Chinese diplomats refuse to leave a property in Papeete, Tahiti’s capital. Now this week comes a report that “‘preliminary discussions’ were held between the Chinese and Vanuatu governments about the establishment of a naval base at a Beijing-funded wharf in Luganville,” and how that is “causing quite a stir in Australia.” The author of this particular report, a Kiwi academic, is skeptical, but it looks like the state of China/Australia relations is topic number one in the region these days, with stories just this month like Big chill between China and Australia and China challenged Australian warships in South China Sea, reports say. China has the southern Pacific rattled.

More photos: China, Australia, Vanuatu