On this day in aviation history, the first non-stop passenger flight with a flight distance of more than 16.000 km would take off.
Flight SQ22 was a flight from Newark to Singapore, the great circle route covered a distance of 16.600 km (9.000 nm) and took 17 hours and 45 minutes due to prevailing tailwinds. The previous flight of the aircraft (Singapore to Newark, SQ21) took more than 18 hours due to the winds at altitude, it covered a great circle distance of 15.344 km (8285 nm)
The flights carried a "heavy" crew 6 flight crew and 14 cabin crew. A fuel load of 222.000 litres (~177.600 kg, ~392900 lbs) of fuel. The A340-500 was one of the 4 main versions (a total of 10 versions were developed) of the A340 family. it first flew in February 2002 and received its Certificate of Airworthiness on the 3rd of December 2002. It was powered by 4 Rolls Royce Trent 553 engines providing 54.000 lbs of thrust. Several versions were developed, amongst others the A340-500IGW (Increased Gross Weight. It had an MTOW of 380 tons (840.000 lbs) and was powered by four Rolls Royce Trent 556 engines, rated at 56.000 lbs of thrust. It used the structural improvements (reinforcements) and larger fuel capacity than were implemented on its big sister ship the A340-600. The main specifications of the A340-500 as presented by Airbus.com