I hope you had a chance to take a look at the Williams Field (aka Willy Field or WF) transition photos. Yesterday the planes (LC-130) were getting stuck in the airfield apron by the fuel pit!!! The snow around here has gradually softened – first the cargo deltas and forklifts were getting bogged down and then stuck when trying to get tothe planes to load. I drove a lighter weight vehicle (airporter) to the plane and sunk in quite a bit along the way. Pegasus Airfield is several more miles “out there” on what is referred to as “White Ice” (part of the ocean that never completely melts or opens.) Last year I described how there is an invisible curtain that you cross as you drive. One side – ok temps – on the other – you get the ANTARCTIC BLAST AND COLD!!! Well, this year- even that airfield is having some troubles!
There is a long ‘lane’ where the cargo and pasenger vehicles drive to approach the airplanes. That ‘lane’ was so deeply rutted and ALSO FILLED with water that I drove my delta next to the runway lights to deliver the aircraft crews! I also heard the pilots being given instructions: “Don’t melt the airstrip”!!!
Let’s see… this past week I rode out to Willy Field in Ivan, and then SKIED back to the Shuttle Stop at Happy Camp. (approx. 5 miles) I think I’ll turn my skis in now – as that sport takes a WEEK to recover from!
I also took a ‘course’ in how to be in the DRY VALLEYS! There is a slight possibility that I will get a little trip – via helicopter – and to increase my chances, I took this little class!!!
(The McMurdo Dry Valleys are the largest expanse of ice-free ground in Antarctica. They contain cold desert soils millions of years old, unusual biological communities, special geological features and minerals and spectacular scenery. It is a specially managed area with all sorts of protocols and rules to follow via the Antarctic Treaty. I believe the 3 main countries watching over it are USA, New Zealand and Italy.)