Emirates scores firsts in 'amazing' detour to North Pole
An Emirates team notched up several firsts in one of the longest flights in the airline's history.The team is now evaluating a mass of information obtained from the flight of the airline's latest Airbus A330, built in Toulose, France, which flew to Dubai via the North Pole, notching up a list of firsts for the airline, for Airbus and for the UAE. The crew at the controls as Airbus MSN 392 went 'over the top'included UAE national First Officer Khalid Namat, possibly the country's first commercial pilot to see the Pole from the air, the Khaleej Times reported. Emirates' polar evaluation flight was also its first in Russian airspace, first to exchange information with air traffic controllers on the ground via automated datalinks instead of voice radio and first to trial high-tech future navigation technology. It also tested the quality of high frequency radio communications in remote regions. Captain Paul Ridley, who commanded the flight, said: 'It's shown us how many new areas we need to address as we transform ourselves into a global airline.' After taking off from Toulouse, the aircraft flew over Amsterdam, Trondheim, Svarlbard, Spitzbergen and the North Pole, making a 30-mile circuit there to study the behaviour of its navigation systems there. It then headed south towards the UAE, climbing a maximum altitude of 41,000 feet and making its way via Murmansk, Moscow, Baku, Teheran and finally landing in Dubai.