Sunday, December 21, 2014

C-121 Super Connie Pegasus Plane wreck

A C-121 Constellation ("Super Connie") crashed on October 8, 1970 in Antarctica. I was fortunate enough to enjoy several boondoggles to this site this year.

The Lockheed Constellation "Pegasus" (VXE-6) crashed due to very low visibility landing conditions. Nobody was seriously hurt and all 80 crew and passengers survived.

This aircraft was powered by 4 18-cylinder radial Wright R-3350 engines and distinguished by a triple-tail design and dolphin-shaped fuselage. This type of plane was the presidential aircraft for U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The ice landing strip was then named Pegasus White Ice Runway, and the landing field, Pegasus Field, in honor of the aircraft.

The Pegasus remains there to this day, buried beneath snow. The Lockheed Constellation does get some visitors for a plane in the Antarctic. The image of the flying orange Pegasus that is detailed on the side of the aircraft must be dug out to be seen.


ANITA III Launch, LDB, Long Duration Balloon facility, McMurdo, Antarctica

ANITA III (A-371) was launched last week on December 18th at 10:20 am after several days of weather delays.  ANITA stands for Antarctic Impulse Transient Antenna and NASA and CSBF (Coumbia Scientific Balloon Facility) coordinated the efforts for the launch at LDB, the Long Duration Balloon facility near McMurdo in Antarctica.  It's now at 119,000' and circling the south pole.

The Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) experiment has been designed to study ultra-high-energy (UHE) cosmic neutrinos by detecting the radio pulses emitted by their interactions with the Antarctic ice sheet. This is to be accomplished using an array of 32 radio antennas suspended from a helium balloon flying at a height of about 120,000 feet.

Some People Do not have to Search

Here's a classic from several years ago that I keep thinking about.

Some people do not have to search - they find their place early in life and rest there, seemingly contented and resigned.
They do not seem to ask much of life, sometimes they do not seem to take it seriously.
Sometimes I envy them, but often I do not understand them.
And seldom do they understand me.

I am one of the searchers.  There are, I believe, millions of us.
We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content.
We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret.
We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand.
We like to walk along the beach - we are drawn by the ocean,
taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty.

We like forests and mountains, deserts and rivers, and the lonely cities as well.
We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand.
Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter.
To share our sadness with the one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know, unless it is to share our laughter.

We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide.
But most of all we want to love and be loved.
We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering,
nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls.
We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.
We are wanderers, dreamers and lovers, lonely souls
who dare ask of life everything good and beautiful.

James Kavanaugh

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Williams Field, McMurdo, Antarctica

Here are some more photos I've taken of Willy Field and the NYANG LC-130's (NY Air National Guard C-130's on skis) that use the skiway to supply field camps all over Antarctica.  A busy, active functional airfield serving the entire continent.

Beautiful machine and blue sky.

Hut 19, the Cargo & MC1 office.

Shed, Plane, Delta and the Royal Society mountain range.

Engine heaters & planes all lined up and ready.

Attaching JATO canisters and
Kerry, the Load Master. 
Welcome to Willy Field skiway.

A KBA Basler (DC-3)

A Basler coming in for a landing.

The Shuttle stop and Galley.

The 'Beach Ball' on the top of the hill.

The Control tower (on skis too).

Three LC-130's with Mt Discovery in the background.

Loading JATO canisters (Jet Assisted Take Off).

Take off sequence (four photos).

Happy Holidays!

Scott Base & Air New Zealand Flight 901

Air New Zealand Flight 901, or The Mt Erebus disaster, occurred 35 years ago on November 28, 1979 killing all on board.  The Kiwi's at Scott Base hosted a memorial service last Friday for family members of the victims.  I was tasked to drive them to and from the Pegasus white ice runway in Ivan, the Terra Bus.  It was a sobering day, but an honor to be a small part of it.  They flew down on the Australian Airbus.  My Kiwi friend Trudie was one of the escorts. A quick trip on a beautiful day.