The so-called “Ice Flight” is always an unpredictable one. Due to changing weather conditions and the remoteness of the Antarctic station, the flight carrying us from Christchurch to McMurdo can be, and often is, delayed. Usually delays are due to weather conditions, and the flight can be cancelled at any time, even sometimes when the plane is halfway through its flight (we call this a boomerang flight)!

Arunima captured a picture of the last flight that made it out of town

So far, we have been delayed for 7 days in Christchurch. This year, the delay was for a rare reason, the C17 which landed before us had to make a nighttime landing, and in doing so, damaged the ice runway. Immediately following this, the weather at McMurdo was so cold that it became extremely difficult to repair the runway and even nearly too cold to operate the planes in (I’m told jet fuel turns gummy at around -40C?).

Feels like -58C, could be worse, right?

Each day we have gotten communications from the coordinators that the flight (initially on Friday, 8/19) had been pushed back to Saturday… then Sunday… then Monday… etc. until now, August 23, where it seems that the runway may be operational again! As of this moment, we are slated for a flight on Friday, August 26 and we are keeping our fingers crossed that the date works out as we are all anxious to get down South and begin our work.

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