Airline food may not be best part of a traveler’s experience, but most layman only deal with the food for a limited amount of hours. And, even so, it’s always possible to pack your own food for a flight.
But what if you’re flight lasted close to 118 hrs over the Pacific Ocean, from Japan to Hawaii? Unlike highways, there are no rest stops. Whatever you’re eating, you’re packing.
For Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, two men attempting to achieve the first round-the-world solar flight, the responsibility of nutrition and food falls to Nestlé.
Solar Impulse has partnered with Nestlé Research to sustain the pilots on the journey, which is around 21,748 miles and requires about 500 hrs of flight time. In addition, the food has to fit in the 3.8-cubic meter cockpit.
For four years, Nestlé has been involved in the project. According to the company, the final meal and nutritional program was the result of tasting sessions under various temperatures; balancing the water, energy and protein content in the meals; and testing the meals in flight simulations and on previous flights.
Recently, Fox News interviewed Amira Kassis, a Nestlé research scientist who is responsible for providing nutritional advice to the pilots, regarding the journey’s last leg.
After completing the trip to Hawaii, Solar Impulse announced the journey’s suspension until 2016 due to damage to the plane’s batteries.
Kassis explained Borschberg brought 66 meals and snacks, weighing 26.5 lbs with packaging. Additionally, he had four gallons of water and 1.6 gallons of sport drinks and nutritional supplements. All were stored with him in the cockpit. Borschberg had the opportunity to indulge in one warm meal per day from a choice of chicken with summer vegetables, potato gratin or mushroom risotto.
“We use a self-heating package,” she told Fox News. “You have to add a little bit of water and there’s an exothermic reaction that heats the food—it’s a fabric bag that contains beads, with the contact of water there’s a chemical reaction that produces heat and warms the meal.”
According to Nestlé, the food must withstand weather conditions from -20 C to 30 C. The company utilizes a process which ensures the food is stable for up to three months without preservatives. Adapted daily intake for the flight’s long legs are 5.2 lbs of food, 84.5 oz of water and 33.8 oz of sports drink.
Kassis, in the Wall Street Journal, said Nestlé will use the research from Solar Impulse to develop future products, including food for the elderly who are similar to pilots in respects regarding restricted movement and high energy needs.
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