Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Plowing Pegasus

For anyone to get out of this place next month,
it takes six guys to get Pegasus Runway open.
Pegasus is the White Ice Runway that typically
is used for wheeled aircraft only. Whereas the
Ice Runway that is built near town can handle
both wheeled and ski aircraft and Williams Field
typically handles ski aircraft. It also has to
be opened during the dark and cold of Winter so
that people can arrive at WINFLY.

There are six Fleet Ops guys here this winter and
this time of year, five of them spend their entire
day out at the runway, going back and forth, back
and forth, grooming the runway. Kind of like mowing
a large yard, only there definitely isn't any grass
growing out there. Since it's seven miles from
McMurdo as the crow flies, they typically pack a
lunch and stay there all day. This also limits the
amount of narrow-tired traffic on the Pegasus Road.
If too many narrow-tired trucks drive on it, it gets
grooves and breaks down the integrity of the road.
Kind of like slot car racing. On the other hand,
their vehicles are HUGE. They have to
be to push all of that snow that's as hard as concrete

Not only does Fleet Ops have to plow the runway, they
also have to move huge amounts of snow to get the
"town-site" ready. A generator housed in the Smurf
Shack (yes it's blue) fires up lights so they're not
working completely in the dark and the electricians
and linemen have their way with the power set-up in
all of the buildings. In about two and a half weeks
they'll set up the runway lights and barring a big
snow storm, all will be ready. Thanks to Fleet Ops
for all of their hard work making the Pegasus Runway
a reality.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Thanks for sharing these photo's. I'm fascinated by this set in particular. Cheers