Russia’s New Jet for Athletes Definitely Won’t Have a Doping Room
Pro athletes enjoy plenty of perks, and their lives are about to get even better. Instead of jetting around the world on planes built for normals, they can climb aboard a jet designed just for their needs.
Russian jet manufacturer Sukhoi Civil Aircraft just unveiled the first-of-its-kind “SportJet” model, replete with massage tables, fitness equipment, a coaches office, and bath towels pre-moistened to the ideal consistency for athletes to wind up and snap at each other’s butts.
Okay, the towels probably aren’t going to happen, but the airplane is a significant new offering, one the company says has been a long time coming. After all, athletic teams routinely charter aircraft for their players to move about more efficiently and privately, and Sukhoi wants a piece of the $600 million team transport market.
To create an environment that caters to athletes’ needs for conditioning and preparation on the fly, Sukhoi divided the cabin of its SJ100 Superjet—a midsized regional aircraft that can seat up to 108 passengers in ordinary commercial guise—into four zones that can be customized based on the sport in question.
Nearest the cockpit is a recovery area with physiotherapy equipment such as a treadmill, stationary bicycle, and a therapy table for massage, electro-muscular stimulation, and other treatments (but definitely not for doping).
After that is the rest zone, packed with comfy recliners—customized with player numbers and individualized welcome screens—that scoop biometrical data from the dozing athletes. “AeroScan” sensors embedded in the seats and in wearable devices will monitor blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, hydration, heart rate, and other metrics so coaches can keep tabs on their athletes’ fatigue and recovery.
The jet’s also-new Airband system, the first athletic diagnostic devices intended for air travel, will wirelessly collect and process that data and make recommendations to team trainers.
Further down the fuselage, the coaching zone will allow group viewing and analysis of game footage. The administration zone will provide space for team officials to confer. Cabin lighting will match the team’s color scheme, and media geared toward both motivation and relaxation can be programmed in. (Why not play Al Pacino’s “inch by inch” speed from Any Given Sunday over and over again?) Features and amenities can be customized for a wide range of sports—baseball, hockey, basketball, football, soccer, athletics, etc.
Sukhoi says it’ll start production of the SportJet in 2018, in time to accommodate the Olympic Games in Tokyo two years later. Sukhoi will initially offer the aircraft to Russia’s expansive hockey league, which includes 29 clubs, and it has already struck a deal with the Russian Olympic team. It will then offer the jet for sale to other leagues and teams around the world.
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