Defense

September 12, 2012

Airmen wrap up Winfly on the ‘ice’

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

Airmen from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings at Joint Base Lewis-McChord deployed to Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand, to conduct winter flying into McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Aug. 29, 2012, in support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. During the period, crews transported 388 passengers and 265,000 pounds of cargo into and out of the remote airfield in preperation for the main season of Operation Deep Freeze.

Despite operating in harsh conditions and experiencing multiple weather delays, the 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, comprised of airmen from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings at McChord Field, completed its winter flying period into McMurdo Station, Antarctica Aug. 29, in support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation.

During the period, known as WinFly, crews completed six missions aboard a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. The aircraft was deployed from McChord Field and delivered 319 passengers and more than 230,000 pounds of cargo to the remote, icy airfield. Additionally, 69 passengers and more than 35,000 pounds of cargo were transported out of McMurdo.

Using Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand as the base of operations, the mission of WinFly is to deliver advance teams and cargo to the remote research center in preparation for the main season of Operation Deep Freeze.

During the period leading up to main season, the research center will swell from approximately 150 NSF and support personnel to roughly ten times that size, helped largely by the efforts of the 304th EAS, said Lt. Col. Brent Keenan, the 62nd Operations Group deputy commander and ODF commander.

Members of the 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron stand beside a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft deployed to Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., to conduct winter flying into McMurdo Station, Antarctica. During the period, crews transported 388 passengers and 265,000 pounds of cargo into and out of the remote airfield in preperation for the main season of Operation Deep Freeze.

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

Weather and visibility are the two major factors which increase the difficulty of the mission, said Capt. Rok Dedic, 62 AW instructor pilot and one of the pilots involved in the missions.

“In Antarctica, the weather changes at a moment’s notice,” said Dedic.

The unpredictable weather caused the first mission into McMurdo to be aborted after takeoff.

“The weather was good, we launched our mission and by the time we reached our point of safe return, we had to turn around and come back to Christchurch due to a change in weather,” said Dedic.

Despite the delays, the crews completed all six missions just slightly behind the estimated completion time.

“The weather support team did an excellent job analyzing weather trends to assist in determining the best launch times,” said Keenan. “The 304th maintenance team also did an outstanding job keeping the jet mission capable,” said Keenan.

The final five missions were completed over the span of just 86 1/2 hours and only 16 1/2 of those hours were spent on the ground at Christchurch, said Keenan. This shows how well the weather and maintenance teams worked to ensure the aircraft had minimal downtime.

In addition to delivering NSF personnel and cargo into and out of McMurdo, the 304th EAS also completed valuable training to include seven pilots getting trained and certified to perform nighttime landings at McMurdo using night vision goggles.

“This training has better equipped us to perform emergency support operations for the NSF during the winter months,” said Keenan.

The main season of ODF is scheduled to begin Oct. 1.




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


 
 

 
Navy photograph

Navy to commission submarine North Dakota

Navy photograph The PCU North Dakota (SSN 784) during bravo sea trials. The crew performed exceptionally well on both alpha and bravo sea trials. The submarine North Dakota is the 11th ship of the Virginia class, the first U.S....
 
 
Army photograph by David Kamm

Army advances technology at Base Camp Integration Laboratory

Army photograph by David Kamm Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, listens as Bob Graney explains details of the energy-efficient rigid-wall shelter system, Oct. 22, 2014...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Wesley Farnsworth

New application aims to improve analyst’s performance

Air Force photograph by Wesley Farnsworth 1st Lt. Kristin Spencer, 711th Human Performance Wing behavioral scientist, watches a video for suspicious behavior during a demonstration of a new Enhanced Reporting, Narrative Event S...
 

 
navair-triton2

Triton UAS completes second transcontinental flight across the U.S.

  The second of three MQ-4C Triton test aircraft makes its debut at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., Oct. 24 after completing its inaugural cross-country flight from Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, Calif., facilit...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Taylor Curry

Wolf Pack soars at RED FLAG-Alaska 15-1

Air Force photograph by SrA. Taylor Curry South Korea air force pilots prepare to taxi their KF-16 Fighting Falcons to the runway during Red Flag-Alaska 15-1 Oct. 17, 2014, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. This field training...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

Upgrades ‘new normal’ for armor in uncertain budget environment

Courtesy photograph The current Paladin is severely under-powered and overweight so its speed of cross-country mobility is pretty restricted. The Paladin Integrated Management program is designed to address a number of these we...
 




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>