LATAM Airlines Chile operates an eclipse-chasing flight

LATAM Airlines (Chile) made this announcement:

At 13:19 (UTC-6) on July 2, flight EFLIGHT 2019-MAX (LA1296) flew into the shadow of the total solar eclipse (TSE), 12,500 meters over the Pacific Ocean. Traveling at a speed of 900 kilometers per hour, LATAM’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner “chased” the path of the eclipse, enabling passengers onboard to experience total darkness for over eight minutes; three times more than the two minutes and 30 seconds it was visible from the ground.

The flight departed from Easter Island’s Mataveri airport at 09:50 local time, heading northwest for two hours and 30 minutes to position itself in the TSE’s trajectory on an eastbound flight path, before returning to the island with a total journey time of five hours and 30 minutes.

Onboard, LATAM welcomed more than 50 passengers from 10 countries – including scientists as well as amateur astronomers and enthusiasts – to experience the equivalent of three TSEs in a single sighting. One of the passengers, Dr. Glenn Schneider, an astronomer at the University of Arizona, not only helped plan the flight, but also recorded his 35th total solar eclipse, a Guinness World Record.

LATAM worked with T.E.I. TOURS & TRAVEL, the trip organizer, and leading scientists for two years to plan every detail of the flight, from predicting the trajectory of the eclipse and identifying the best route for passengers to experience the phenomenon, to avoiding clouds and other weather factors.

All photos by LATAM Airlines.