Saturday, November 1, 2014

Not your average airline

The flight from Christchurch to McMurdo Station is about 5 hours long. We are flying in a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, which is a large plane for strategic airlift operations (it’s only a bit smaller than the A380 I flew from Dallas to Sydney).

The C-17 Globemaster III

As we will be disembarking straight onto the ice, you must have your windproof bibs, “big red” jacket and bunny boots on the aircraft. Everyone is checked to make sure they are carrying the correct clothing.

The white van in the picture is handing out packed lunches. There is no beverage cart nor in-flight service on the C-17!

There are five seats per row and a set of seats down each side of the plane. Sarah, sitting next to me on the flight, is doing her 29th season in Antarctica. She is working as a camp manager at the remote location of Sipple Dome. Being a military aircraft, the C-17 is extremely noisy in the main cargo bay - all passengers wear ear protection (plugs or headsets) during the flight.

During the flight we were able to go up into the cockpit and talk to the pilots for a few minutes

FINALLY – we are on the ice! The C-17 lands on a blue ice (very hard, cold ice) runway.

We then take a transporter to McMurdo station; about a 45 minute ride