Sunday, November 23, 2008
The flight workhorse of the US Antarctic Program
has always been the LC-130 Hercules. This year,
the program is experimenting with a new kind of
Herc...The Bumblebee. It's just like every other
Herc, except it's propellers have eight blades
instead of the standard four. It's being tested
for it's viability in a number of conditions around
the world, including the polar conditions here.
The main reason that the Air Force is experimenting is
to see if they can increase the take-off performance of
the plane. It should provide more thrust at lower air
speeds. Since a large focus of the USAP is now headed
toward scientific study at remote field camps, they need
a plane that can take off and land in a relatively limited
space without an extra long runway. It could also increase
fuel efficiency by five percent and decrease maintenance
Over the last few weeks, a few missions have taken off
and flown around the immediate area of Ross Island...
taking off from Williams Field and landing at Pegasus
Field and vice versa. Tomorrow's flight offers much
of the same. If the tests are successful, someday all
of our Hercs may be eight bladed.