Posted by Cricket & Diana
Date: 18 August 2010
Sunrise: Below horizon
Wind Speed: 30 knots
Temp with wind chill: -65C
Boarding the C-17 © AHT/C Harbeck
We boarded the U.S. Air Force’s C-17 plane just after lunch along with almost 120 other people and left Christchurch, New Zealand, for Antarctica, where we will be spending the next 6 months working on the artefact collection of Scott’s 1910–13 Antarctic expedition. We were in awe of the plane. Boeing’s C-17 Globemaster III is the preferred plane for these types of transport because it has a large carrying capacity and can fly to the ice and back all in one day and on one tank of gas. It’s a huge plane, which, having watched the previous day’s flight take off, appears a heavy and pokey beast when leaving the ground. However, in the plane, it felt much different. We were surprised by the speed and force, which jerked us back into our seats.
Inside the C-17 © AHT/D Komejan
We were 2 of 3 “Kiwis” (slang term for New Zealanders) on the flight with the remaining passengers heading for the U.S. base, McMurdo. Our departure time was unusual since most flights during late winter leave Christchurch in the early morning in order to land on the ice during a small window of daylight. Our afternoon flight was scheduled so that the pilots could practice landing during the Antarctica nighttime with their new night vision goggles - a daunting initiation to the ice! Our flight covered 4000km in only 5 hours, and we deplaned in time to see the last glow of sun. Stunning.