Geographic South Pole


Fourmilab South Pole Expedition

January, 2013

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Flight to the Pole

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2013-01-08 17:03 UTC Click images for reduced size.

Away we go! Our flight to the Pole was aboard the Basler BT-67 DC-3 conversion, which is able to make the flight and return in about three and half hours each way without refuelling.

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2013-01-07 12:10 UTC

Here's how they really decide if we're go for the flight to the pole!

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2013-01-07 12:09 UTC

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2013-01-08 17:29 UTC

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2013-01-08 17:49 UTC

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2013-01-08 17:52 UTC

We're all going to die!

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2013-01-08 17:53 UTC

Hey, it's cool—I have my hot water bottle! I already have a fine case of “Antarctic nose”. The weird lips are due to sunscreen. The hot water bottle is for melting frost on the windows of the DC-3, which begins to build shortly after takeoff. This is an heroically robust airplane being operated outside its original design margin. The DC-3 is heated but not pressurised, and flies at a maximum altitude of 3700 metres on the flight to the Pole, which is just 700 metres above the icepack at its highest points. The flight gives passengers a chance to adapt to the altitude before hiking from the landing strip at the Pole to the camp. Most people in good health have no difficulty with the altitude at the Pole, and none of our party had any problems.

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2013-01-08 19:16 UTC

Note that the Basler DC-3 has been fitted with glass cockpit instrumentation. There was no security theatre paranoia on any of our flights to and from or within Antarctica, and the flight deck remained open to visitors on the flight to the Pole.

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2013-01-08 20:49 UTC

Within the last degree! The deviation from a pure southward course is due to the displacement between the geographic and magnetic south poles.

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2013-01-08 21:13 UTC

We landed on the skiway, not far from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

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2013-01-08 21:23 UTC

We debarked onto the snow, ready to tour the station, while our packs were hauled by a snow machine to the camp about a kilometre away.

by John Walker
February 22nd, 2013
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This document is in the public domain.