Monday, October 01, 2012

Southbound


I'm beginning my 13th season on the Ice and my 11th journey south. Every season's flight is very different, and this year is no exception. I would have preferred to fly on the C-17, but instead I arrived on the A-319 Airbus. It's funny though how a little experience helps one have a better flight. I lined up where I needed to after the safety briefing in Christchurch and got a good seat on the bus to the plane, which in turn, got me
a great seat on the flight.

 
About 3.5 hours into the flight, we started to fly over the Transantarctic Mountains, which form the spine of the Antarctic continent. I never tire of this view of the mountains and glaciers. There is a Qantas flight that makes a similar route to ours on New Years Eve and that costs approximately $10,000 per person. Yes, I get paid to make this flight!


Once we start veering toward Ross Island (where McMurdo is located) we start flying over McMurdo Sound. There are lots of icebergs this season. Although they look smallish, each of these is probably about
the size of a city block.


I've seen this view many times, being on the ramp, (this would be called the tarmac at regular airports) but I don't get to see it often from inside a plane. It doesn't look that much different from last year, although I believe the Ice Runway is a bit closer to Scott Base this year.


This is the typical shot of folks leaving the plane after arriving from the Ice. I was contacted by a representative from the NSF (National Science Foundation) for a photo just like this for one of their early season documents. I submitted it, so I hope it gets used.