Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tucker Sno-Cat

Antarctica is full of odd vehicles, but one of the
strangest is the Tucker Sno-Cat. These type of vehicles
had their heyday back in the late 50's and early 60's.
They were instrumental in making the first motorized
crossing of the continent and were instrumental in the
Operation Deep Freeze missions. Nowadays, they've been
largely replaced by Pisten Bullys in the USAP but McMurdo
still has a couple of them. This one received a new
engine this year and needed to get 100 hours of actual
driving time on the engine to break it in and test it out.
Unfortunately on the recent IT/Ops trip to Black Island, it
broke a couple of shafts and had to be placed on a sled to
be towed back. Now it's out for the season since there
aren't any parts here to replace those that are broken.
I didn't get to a chance to ride in one, but they don't
look all that comfortable. Not that anything here is
exactly comfortable, but rattling around in a 50 year old
vehicle over bumpy ice and snow isn't that much fun anyway.

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