Photo: Qantas Founders Museum
As one that loves aviation, a quiz question (followed by the tale) I love asking; “What’s the world’s the longest non-stop flight?”
If people know flight routes, they may say Qatar to Auckland, Singapore to New York, or Emirates to Panama. All wrong!
It surprises most to learn that Qantas holds that record from Perth to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) before asking how, when Melbourne to Colombo is 11 hours?
Qantas flew modified Catalina "Flying Boats" from 1943 - 1945 from Perth to Lake Koggala during WW2 on what remains the world's longest non-stop flights (by time), lasting as long as 33 hours.
Extra fuel tanks and fewer passengers were needed, but these flights witnessed the famous double-sunrise (and why Qantas' plan for long-range flights is called ‘Project Sunrise’), making sure they flew at night when crossing Japanese occupied waters. If caught, it was goodnight captain.
This unique route helped re-establish the Australia - England air link.
Qantas could fly Perth to Colombo to celebrate ‘Project Sunrise’ in 2025, but I'd prefer Melbourne to Barbados for our Australian Cricket Tour To The West Indies 2025, 30 Years Anniversary Tour.
Read: Qantas Founders Museum buys from Spain and restores one of the few remaining Catalina "Flying Boats".