Friday, July 08, 2016

Team from South Pole Rescue back home

On June 24th, I wrote about a rare successful mid-winter aerial rescue of two sick workers from the South Pole in Antarctica. The other day a read a report from CTV in Alberta Canada, with a few videos) that the two crews from Kenn Borek Air who flew this rare mid-winter trip Antarctica arrived back home in Calgary, Alberta on June 30th.

The article along with nine videos from CTV may be found on this CTV webpage (dated July 5, 2016). CTV reporters interviewed the Kenn Borek crews that participated in the mid-winter rescue from the South Pole on July 5th. I tried, but was unable to get the embed code to work here, sorry.

I am never certain how long these reports and the videos will be available, so I am highlighting for you some of the key points that I learned from reading the report and watching the videos. Watching all nine videos takes about 15 or 20 minutes tops.

  • The two Twin Otters and their crews, traveling together,  arrived home in Calgary on June 30th.
  • They traveled a total of 21,054 nautical miles.
  • The two Twin Otters had extended fuel tanks taking up much of the "passenger area" and were equipped to handle winter weather in the Antarctic.
  • The crews had Antarctic experience. The crew that flew to the South Pole talked about flying the route from Rothera Base to the South Pole in October (late spring and summer in the Antarctic), saying that even in the summer they often spent the 10 hour flight from Rothera to the South Pole in the clouds.
  • The crews are committed and well trained. When the CTV reporter asked who would volunteer for such a mission in the future all raised their hands.
  • In addition to using GPS for navigation the pilots used celestial navigation.
  • The two Twin Otters left Alberta on June 14th, making their last stop of the day in Texas. Pilots from Kenn Borek air flew on a commercial flight to Texas so that the team could continue to fly, at night to the next stop in Costa Rica.
  • By June 17th the Twin Otters had arrived at Punta Arenas, Chile. Medics joined the Kenn Borek teams in Chile.
  • The Twin Otter that stayed behind in Punta Arenas had her skis on until just before the Twin Otter (KBG) that flew to the South Pole arrived back in Punta Arenas when they changed out her skies for wheels.

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