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October 29, 2012

Byrd Glacier

Flying to the Byrd Glacier is a special trip for us.  We're heading so far south from McMurdo Station that we fly as team of two aircraft for backup.  We also add the second auxiliary fuel tank to each helicopter giving us extra range.  Still, the Byrd is so remote that we have to refuel from a cache on the way there and back.  

The Byrd Glacier is about 15 miles wide and drains a vast area of the ice sheet making it one of the faster moving glaciers in Antarctica.  We're flying south to monitor, repair, and retrieve data from a series of GPS stations that are tracking the movement of the glacier.

If you click on the location tag at the bottom of any of these posts it will take you to a google map.  Check it out!

To the left, the Ross Ice Shelf.  To the right, the Transantarctic Mountains.  Headed south.

Matt, the dutiful HeloTech, pumps gas while Paul shows off his Ultimate Fighting skills for Ryan.

Darwin Glacier fuel Cache, our pals flying Twin Otter ski planes put the fuel in at the beginning of the season.

Cutting snow blocks with a chainsaw.  Yay Power Tools!  

A Very Big Glacier

The antarctic is pretty hard on battery powered electronics.   Note the angle of the solar panel.

October 26, 2012

Fossil hunting in the Allan Hills

A flight to the Allan Hills in search of Glossopteris.

Today we're supporting a paleo-geology group that is studying fossils of the dominant plant of the southern hemisphere in the Permian period (almost 300 million years ago).  Fossils of the fern Glossopteris can be found throughout southern South America, Africa, India, Australia and Antarctica.  The plant was used as early evidence for continental drift.  Petrified wood abounds in the Allan Hills.

Flying across the great flat white...

A fossilized stump in the foreground.

Just what we were looking for.

October 24, 2012

Lake Fryxell Camp

A few pics from a flight to the Lake Fryxell research camp.  Each season we fly carpenters, techs and others in the the Dry Valleys to repair and prepare the camps to receive scientists for the season.

Rigging a sling load of propane.

Refueling at Marble Point

October 18, 2012

Welcome to Helo Ops

Time to get to work.  Flying around managing passengers, cargo and sling loads is what HeloTechs do.

A busy morning in the passenger terminal.  This is the SAR team weighing in for a training exercise.

Every season we train with the SAR team to perform hover step-out landings for emergency operations. Jonny (one of the HeloTechs) acts as a spotter while Jack brings the 212 into a step-out site.

A delicate operation.  Taking the blades off one of the A-Stars and bringing it in for maintenance.

October 8, 2012

Home in MacTown

Home sweet home amongst the scientific-industrial complex.

Mainstreet McMurdo, Mt. Discovery in the distance.

Dressed for an early season hike.

McMurdo Station, home for about 1000 people.  Observation Hill is the little peak.

Roll-Cage Mary keeping a watchful eye on all the inhabitants.

Sunset can last hours this time of the year.  Soon we'll have 24 hour daylight.