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.


 
 

 
Army photograph by John Andrew Hamilton

Improved Multiple Launch Rocket System tested at White Sands Missile Range

Army photograph by John Andrew Hamilton A Multiple Launch Rocket System with an improved armored cab fires a training rocket during a test. The rockets were simple training rockets and not equipped with a warhead, but still gen...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Christopher Callaway

AF Special Operations Command receives first AC-130J

Air Force photograph by Amn. Kai White A crowd gathers to view the inside of the Air Force Special Operations Command’s first AC-130J Ghostrider at Hurlburt Field, Fla., July 29, 2015. The aircrews of the 1st Special Operatio...
 
 
Marine Corps photograph by Cpl. Anne K. Henry

Marines: F-35B squadron ready for worldwide deployment

Marine Corps photograph by Cpl. Anne K. Henry An F-35B Lightning II prepares to taxi on the flight deck of the USS Wasp during night operations at sea as part of a Marine Corps operational test, May, 22, 2015. The Marines’ de...
 

 
Boeing photograph

CH-46 ‘Phrog’ makes its last hop

Boeing photograph The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter commonly known as the “Phrog,” is set to retire and to be flown one last time by Reserve Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 774 on Aug. 1. The CH-46 Sea Knight is a med...
 
 

Advanced Extremely High Frequency system achieves IOC

Gen. John Hyten, the Air Force Space Command commander, declared initial operational capability for the Advanced Extremely High Frequency system July 28. The significant achievement reflects collaboration between numerous organizations, including Headquarters Air Force Space Command, the Space and Missile Systems Center, Army, Navy and the developers, Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman. The s...
 
 
Navy photograph

Surface-to-surface missile test for LCS successful

Navy photograph Three missiles from a ripple fire response strike their moving targets during an engineering development test of modified Longbow Hellfire missiles. The missile system, designated the Surface-to-Surface Missile ...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>