Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Trip To Nowhere

 Ahh...2nd time lucky. Reporting at 7.30am, this time we actually set off for our trip of a lifetime to Antarctica. Through 'customs'....
Then a dope bus trip to the plane (no more than a 3 minute drive)
Slipped straight into Business Class of the Boeing 757 (think manufactured some time in the 80s).   
This is the 3rd concept flight for the RNZAF to Antarctica - and if it continues to work well they will use the aircraft for taking staff down to Scott Base and McMurdo Stations each summer.
( Nice back seat pocket).
 Lunch was served (we didn't expect this)...think 1980s again, (but served by beautiful Airforce Personnel - all so nice and brimming with Kiwi casualness).

 And then after 3 and a half hours the wind at Pegasus Air Field, Antarctica, was too strong for us to land. The 757 does not hold enough fuel to get to the airfield and circle to wait for winds to die down, so we had to abort the trip with and hour and a half to go...and head back to Christchurch!   Apparently the wind really did get up so there would have been no chance.

On the way back, I was lucky enough to be asked to sit in with the pilots for touch down heading back into Christchurch.  Nose first if you know what I mean!
 They had some cool gear in the cockpit - the 757 has been 'pimped' to handle Antarctic landings.
And by 3.30am we were flying into Christchurch International Airport, right where we started! (that's the runway in the photo).
Throughout the 6 hours, this was the best view of anything! We went nowhere, and saw absolutely nothing.   But it was a totally unique experience, and all part of one MASSIVE build up.  Apparently when we turned around we would have been over icebergs, and on the edge of the continent, but it was too cloudy to know.  One more try tomorrow!  Reporting same time as the last 3 days! Wish us luck.  Mother Nature is soooo in charge.

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