The landing of a Next Generation 737-700 in Australia on Wednesday was cause for excitement as Virgin Blue achieved what is believed to be an Australian non-stop distance record for a commercial Boeing 737, falling short of the global record by only 187 kilometres.
Captaining the 737-700 with First Officer Ben Spencer, Virgin Blue’s Head of Flight Operations, John Raby accomplished 7928 kilometres on the non-stop flight from Hawaii to Brisbane.
With over 30 years flying experience and extensive experience in international aviation, having worked in both long haul and domestic European operations, Captain Raby believes the achievement is outstanding considering the 12-knot headwinds experienced during the flight.
“The current world distance record is 8115 kilometres currently held by Germania who were on a delivery flight from Seattle to Europe.
“On the Seattle - Europe route they would have had the benefit of a tailwind component, where as we were faced with headwinds”, said Captain John Raby.
In line with Virgin Blue’s strategy to bring Australia the latest in aviation technology, Chief Executive Officer, Brett Godfrey said, “Our continued investment in modern jets gives Virgin Blue an edge on our competitors.
“We have the youngest and most technologically advanced aircraft fleet in Australia, being captained by some of the worlds most experienced pilots.
“This is a fantastic achievement for our pilots and Virgin Blue, especially considering we weren’t aiming for any records.
“We are happy that our crew are able to fly Australia’s youngest fleet to it’s full potential”, Brett Godfrey concluded.