I think most USAP participants wish for a few extra days in Christchurch on their way down to the ice and our wish was granted. After getting on all our gear, standing in line and getting checked in for our flight on the 13th, we had an hour for lunch and that had to report back for a briefing before we boarded the plane. After the break and the briefing it was announced that the plane had a mechanical problem, which required a part to be flown in from the States, so we were released until the next day. The following day there was bad weather in McMurdo, so the flight was again postponed another day. We did end up flying on the 15th and made it in at 6:40 pm. Those of you who know McMurdo know that it would be dark at that time this time time of year. We actually were on the first flight to ever land in Antarctica where the pilots were wearing Night Vision Goggles. They have been doing NVG training flights the past few years, but this was the first one to ever fly with passengers, so we made a bit of Antarctica History. Here are some photos from Christchurch and our flight.
Here's the long line of people weighting to turn in their bags for the flight and to get everything weighed.
Kelly is filling out his New Zealand Departure Card while we wait in line.
Drew & David while waiting for our briefing.
Since our flight was an historic first in Antarctic Aviation history, there was a photo taken of the flight crew prior to our boarding the plane. Unfortunately Dave got this photo, just after they were starting to disperse.
Kelly, Dennis, Twan & Pete on the flight.
Flying over the Antarctic Ocean
On the C-17, these little portals on the doors are the only outside views we get on the flight.
The horizon is getting pink in this photo as the sun begins to set.
A view of the setting Sun from the plane
Kelly & Dave just prior to arrival with all their gear on.
Here's a shot of the C-17 we flew on, the first to ever land in the dark with NVG's.