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 31, 2015

News: Carter: Military leaders could arm more troops at home – Following the recent fatal shooting of four Marines and a sailor in Tennessee, Defense Secretary Ash Carter is ordering the military services to consider new policies that would enhance security for troops at home, including potentially arming more personnel.   Business: DOD weighs supplier base,...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

U.S. delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt The United States Embassy in Cairo says the U.S. is delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt as part of an ongoing military support package. It says in a July 30 statement that the aircraft, of the current Block 52 production variant, will be flown in from...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin successfully tests design changes for Orion spacecraft’s fairing separation system

Lockheed Martin photograph A protective panel for Orion’s service module is jettisoned during testing at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, California facility. This test series evaluated design changes to the spacecraft’s fair...
 

 

Australian company to provide parts for initial production of Triton UAS

Northrop Grumman has awarded the first Australian supplier contract for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system initial production lot to Ferra Engineering. Brisbane-based Ferra Engineering will manufacture mechanical sub-assemblies for the first four Triton air vehicles including structural components. “At Northrop Grumman it’s very important to not only develop...
 
 
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...
 
 

Insitu awarded LRIP Lot IV RQ-21A Blackjack Systems contract

Under the terms of its latest contract, Insitu will build six RQ-21A Blackjack systems for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The $78-million Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Lot IV Low Rate Initial Production contract is the latest event in the program’s progression toward the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation phase.   “This award will...
 




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>