Defense

August 21, 2012

McChord C-17 crews begin WinFly to Antarctica

Tags:
by SSgt. Sean Tobin
JB Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Last year, the 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron conducted a record-breaking 74 missions in support of Operation Deep Freeze, six more than any previous season. The crews also broke the record for amount of cargo delivered by transporting 6.33 million pounds, 1.37 million pounds more than any previous season. The 62nd AW is scheduled to begin its winter flying period Aug. 20.

The 62nd Airlift Wing began the winter flying period Aug. 20 as part of its support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation.

The period, known as WinFly, is scheduled to last until Aug. 28 and will deliver advance teams and cargo for the upcoming main season of Operation Deep Freeze.

A C-17 Globemaster III aircraft operated by the 62nd AW and its Reserve associate wing, the 446th AW, will deploy to transport NSF personnel and cargo to Chistchurch International Airport, New Zealand.

Christchurch is the starting point for forward deployment to McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

WinFly and ODF are unlike any other U.S. military operations and present unique challenges for all members involved.

“Flying into Antarctica during WinFly is challenging because it is dark almost all day,” said Maj. Matt Armstrong, 62nd Operations Group executive officer.

Unlike a traditional concrete runway, the airfield is carved out of the ice making it very difficult to discern the runway from the surrounding ice, said Armstrong.

Traditional airfield lighting is not feasible in the remote, icy airfield, so special reflectors are placed along either side of the runway to help the aircraft’s lights reflect back into the cockpit.

“We have to adjust for crosswinds early and make a very straight approach to the runway,” said Lt. Col. Brent Keenan, the 62nd Operations Group deputy commander and ODF commander. “Otherwise the light from the aircraft would not hit the reflectors and we would not be able to see the runway.”

Another factor that makes WinFly missions difficult is the extremely low temperatures that occur in Antarctica during the month of August, which is wintertime in the southern hemisphere.

“Temperatures get so low in flight that the pilots have to make sure that the fuel in the wings doesn’t get so cold that it turns into a gel,” said Armstrong.

The Air Force is uniquely equipped and trained to operate in such an austere environment and has provided support to U.S. Antarctic research since 1955.

“This is a small subset of missions we do no matter what conflicts are going on elsewhere in the world,” said Keenan. “It’s a unique mission and it’s all about furthering science.”

Joint Task Force Support Forces Antarctica, led by Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, is scheduled to begin the Operation Deep Freeze main season at the end of September.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 30, 2014

News: Software to power F-35 running as much as 14 months late¬†- Software needed to operate Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet, the Pentagon’s costliest weapons system, may be as much as 14 months late for required flight testing, according to a Pentagon review.   Business: Lockheed will turn on JLTV production line In August; 6-D truck...
 
 

News Briefs July 30, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,197 As of July 29, 2014, at least 2,197 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,819 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds

F-35B successfully completes wet runway, crosswind testing

Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds F-35B aircraft BF-4, piloted by Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Dan Levin, starts down the runway as part of wet runway and crosswind testing at Edwards AFB, Calif. In an important program ...
 

 
boeing-chinook

Boeing delivers first U.S. Army multiyear II configured Chinook

Boeing July 29 delivered the first multiyear II configured CH-47F Chinook helicopter to the U.S. Army one month ahead of schedule. The delivery was celebrated in a ceremony at the production facility in Ridley Township, Penn. ‚...
 
 
Army photograph by SSgt. Angela Stafford

Engineers developing safer, more accurate tracer round

Army photograph Tracer rounds enable the shooter to follow the projectile trajectory to make aiming corrections. However, the light emitted by these rounds also gives away the position of the shooter. Engineers at Picatinny Ars...
 
 
NASA photograph by Carla Thomas

Katherine Lott awarded NASA Armstrong employee scholarship

NASA photograph by Carla Thomas Katherine Lott, the recipient of the 2014 NASA Armstrong Employee Exchange Council Joseph R. Vensel Memorial Scholarship, is congratulated by NASA Armstrong center director David McBride. Flankin...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>