LC-130 wing

In the air between South Pole to McMurdo

I’m back in New Zealand, after a night in McMurdo and C-17 flight from there to Christchurch arriving early yesterday morning. It amazes me how distant Antarctica feels already.

Transit between South Pole and New Zealand generally involves two flights on one or two types of military cargo planes – the LC-130 that’s been mentioned here several times, and the C-17 for lucky folks between Christchurch and McMurdo. From the perspective of an Antarctic air traveller, the C-17 is quicker, quieter, roomier, and more reliable than the LC-130. But, the C-17 lacks skis, so it’s not able to land at South Pole.

C17 at Pegasus

Our plane to Christchurch, parking at Pegasus runway

For as noisy and industrial as Antarctic cargo-class travel is, I actually prefer it to normal commercial air travel. It’s fun feeling the intense acceleration of a C-17’s short takeoff, there’s often room to wander around and lie down on the floor, few silly security pretences, and often a chance to ride in the cockpit.

inside of lc-130

Fellow passengers leaving Pole in the LC-130

inside of c-17

A few more people, but a lot more room, on the C-17 to Christchurch


About ianrrees

Nerdy guy.
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One Response to Airplanes

  1. Cameron Wookey says:

    Congratulations, Ian. A GREAT Adventure.

    One heck of a bird, that C-17.

    Please, at some future time, keep your notes, consider writing a book. Being an old guy, myself, I’m guessing that aspects of your experience will develop and fill in over the decades. You were there. Now, for one of the world’s unique, very special re-orientations – and some fun. Congratulations.

    CamW, Gunnison, CO

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