Tuesday, October 13, 2009
As an Air Services Rep, one of my jobs is to give
tours to the crews of the C-17s that land on the
Ice Runway. Today was the opening of the Annual
Sea Ice Runway so, a crew tour was set up and I
was to lead it. However, when I arrived at the
Ice Runway, I was told that the crew had cancelled
their tour. I'm not sure why, but the store was
closed today so that wasn't an option for them to
visit it. This left me with a few minutes of extra
time before I had to head back to McMurdo so I was
able to snap a few photos. There is a small "town"
set up at the Ice Runway to service the runway.
This includes a terminal, control tower, service
buildings etc. It's kind of a neat place and early
in the season, very orderly and tidy.
It only takes about ten minutes to drive to the
Ice Runway from McMurdo versus the minimum 30
minutes to Pegasus Runway via the shortcut road.
As a result, it's basically in McMurdo's front
yard. Even a big plane like the C-17 looks small
in comparison to it's surroundings.
Speaking of big though, the C-17 is just a monster
of a plane. My boss's boss, Pete is on the right
and my friend Neel is on the left. Neel is something
like 6'8" tall and he looks miniature next to the
Parked right on the edge of the Ice Town is the
Basler. The Basler is run by Ken Borek Air out
of Canada and is specially fitted to operate in
very cold temperatures. The first flight to the
South Pole is scheduled for tomorrow and it will
be a Basler that takes 16 people there. As I
type this, the flight is looking iffy because of
weather, so we'll see if it leaves or not.
From the runway, you get a fantastic view of
Mount Erebus, our active volcano. It's kind of
disconcerting to know that it is active, but
kind of fascinating at the same time. Maybe
that's morbid fascination...
This is my favorite view of McMurdo. From out
on the Sea Ice. It looks very clean and
orderly from here. It also gives you a
good idea of how big and spread out it is.