Nike in collaboration with design firm Teague have conceived a customized private jet that is meant to swaddle athletes in supreme comfort, optimizing transfer of the teams to and from the field. Imagine a West Coast basketball team heading to New York for a game. They are boarding a chartered flight. Today there is a lot riding on this game—anticipating fans, big money; multimillion-dollar contracts are at stake. Now, imagine your favorite center at 7-plus feet folding himself into the classic airplane seat, airplane noise, dehydrating air, standard airplane meals. Even on a chartered flight, the smallest inconveniences and discomforts of flying take their toll, leaving athletes drained and depleted by the time they arrive at their game.
Typically, one day of acclimation is advised for every time zone crossed. A professional basketball schedule for teams based on the West Coast simply doesn’t afford that luxury. In the regular season, a team from the West Coast could take as many as 14 flights with a duration of 3 hours or longer. It is at this 3-hour threshold where the negative impacts of flying start to take effect. Additionally, that same West Coast team might be scheduled to cross 3 time zones to play 4 games in 5 days. With a schedule like that, a team has to be able to prepare for and recover from games while flying.
Recovery and performance are the reasons why professional sports are as much about what happens off the field as what happens on the field. In order for our traveling basketball team to remain competitive, real-time information management is critical. The Athlete’s Plane, the mobile “away” facility and data center is a system consisting of the airplane, connecting with smart apparel, accessories, and footwear. Through this integrated system, an individually customized recovery plan can be administered and athletic performance optimized. Key to an effective recovery plan are the monitoring of athletes, analyzing of collected data, and implementation of the best-suitable treatment method.
A big opportunity in the design of the airplane interior is the proper zoning of spaces in order to cater to the unique needs of athletes, coaches, and support staff. The designers paid particular attention to include foot traffic, noise and light disturbances, climate control, privacy, and social habits. The Athlete’s Plane—a sky-high, pre- and post-game training and treatment facility—gives our basketball team the competitive edge they need to succeed when it counts most: traveling to and from games.