The Royal New Zealand Air Force’s season of ice flights has kicked off with the first C-130 arriving at Pegasus Airfield in Antarctica last night. The aircraft was carrying 30 passengers and 12,850 lbs of freight.
The RNZAF ice flights contribute to the Antarctica New Zealand and United States Antarctic Programme Joint Logistics Pool, ensuring the personnel on the continent have everything they need to get through the season.
Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Major General Tim Gall said that the ability of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to provide personnel with special skill sets means the organisation can make an important contribution to the New Zealand and United States Antarctic Programmes.
“At its summer peak, Operation Antarctica is our biggest mission. Around 220 personnel make up a Scott Base Support Team, carry out light engineering tasks, refuel aircraft, work as stevedores and drivers for the supply ship offload, and carry out cargo and passenger handling at Harewood Terminal in Christchurch.”
The flight itself takes around seven and a half hours and good weather is crucial, said aircraft co-captain Squadron Leader Matt Ferris.
“The Antarctic region provides one of the most challenging environments for our crews to operate in. We have extensive training programmes to ensure we’re well prepared for the operating season, focusing on areas such as cold weather operating procedures and crew decision-making.”
The Royal New Zealand Air Force will provide a further three return flights for the Joint Logistics Pool this season.
Source / Author: NZDF