Friday, November 19, 2010

The flight to the ice

Checking in the gear for the flight and clearing security in Christchurch

Waiting in the luxurious departure lounge

This wasn't the plane we flew down on--the C-17.

Instead we had the airbus.  It is a bit bizzarre to load the plane with all our ECW (extreme cold weather) gear in the 70°F temperatures of New Zealand summer.

Getting our bag lunch and water in preparation for the arduous flight down to McMurdo.

Well, OK, maybe it wasn't as arduous and physically demanding as the old sling seats in the C-130s.  Actually this was allegedly the last time the Airbus was used to get to the ice this year.  It was on contract from the Australians as they were waiting to get their runway prepped for this year.  Lucky us.

John Goodge, working up a compelling and transformative NSF proposal.

Jeff Vervoort working up a snarky manuscript review

Tanya Dryer enjoying the flight and the scenery

Mark Fanning working up the definitive data set

We approach the Continent and the Ross Sea

Views of the glacially sculptured landscape of Victoria Land

Views of the beginning of Ross Island.

A large lead in the sea ice adjacent to the Antarctic continent

Broken sea ice on the Ross Sea near McMurdo

Disembarking the Airbus.  The airbus was a luxury flight by Antarctic standards, with all the comforts of a regular passenger jet flight, except with more freedom to go in the cockpit, etc. The flights (Airbus included) land this time of year on the sea ice of the Ross Sea in front of McMurdo. 

John Goodge in full regalia, happy to be back in Antarctica (or, rather, on the Ross Sea ice) for his 11th season.

Ivan, the Terra Bus, ready with a load of passengers to take them from the airstrip to McMurdo.

The view of the airstrip on the sea ice in front of McMurdo.  The last flights to land on the sea ice will be in early December.  The move for the air operations from the sea ice this year is scheduled to be on Dec 4 this year--the day after we are scheduled to fly out to CTAM.  After that, as the sea ice starts to break up, an ice breaker will make its way to shore to prepare the way for a cargo ship to haul supplies in and out of McMurdo station.

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