Monday, January 10, 2011

Working Trip to Central Trans-Antarctic Mountains

We had a working trip out to a field camp called CTAM (Central Trans-Antarctic Mountains) on Saturday.  It's located just across the Queen Alexandra Range from the Beardmore Glacier.  CTAM is 361 nautical miles away from South Pole Station and 371 nautical miles from McMurdo. The flight out to CTAM takes about 1.5 hours one way and lies at an elevation of 5980 feet.  The purpose of the trip was to see how the field camp handles the download and upload of the cargo we send out to them.
This is the plane Kelly was loading for the flight out.

Dave having a look outside during the flight.

The insides of these cargo planes are all about function...not comfort.

Kelly with some of the New Zealanders flying out to camp. 

Here's a look out the window.

A full LC130 holds 6 pallets, we had 2 pallets plus some small items.  We would normally use a loader to pick the pallets up and off the plane at McMurdo.  But at this camp they do what's called a "combat offload".  This is when the Loadmaster lowers the ramp of the plane once we're on the ground, releases the cargo pallets and they slide right out the back of the plane while we're moving down the skiway.

The ramp is open and getting ready to release the cargo.

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This clip is of the "combat offload".

The beautiful mountains around camp.

The tucker is dragging a pallet behind the plane to upload.

Dave with Andrew, the Cargo Handler at CTAM.

The Loadmaster is hooking a chain to the pallet and then to the winch, which he will then use to pull the pallet up the ramp and on to the plane.
The missions to field camps are "engine running offload" meaning it's very loud with lot's of exhaust from the engines.

Winching the pallet inside the plane.

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This clip is the cargo being pulled in.

The second pallet pulled into position.

Kelly assisting the Loadmaster.

Here's the forth pallet on the ramp and locking in to position.

Dave on the flight deck.  We both got to sit on the flight deck with the Pilots, the Engineer and Navigator the whole way back, so we were able to get a lot of photos.

Both of us up top.

Here's a shot out the Pilot's window while taxiing down the skiway

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This video is at the end of the skiway making a 360 degree turn in preparation for takeoff.  We had so much weight onboard between cargo and fuel, that it took three attempts before we got airborne.

Once up in the air, the trip back was beautiful!
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Lot's of gauges.

View from inside the flight deck.


More scenic pictures.

Nearing Pegasus Airfield at McMurdo for our landing.

Inside Kelly's office at the airfield.

1 comment:

Pat said...

Hey.. I liked this one too.. It really tells it, that you guys are really working down there???.. When you post all the many party and get togethers...Ummmm>> I was wondering?? Any way I just kidding., glad that you enjoy your wonderful job... Wish I could see you guys again and listen to some of your stories that I'm sure you can tell!!. Take care..Pat & Darrell