6 weeks to go
6 weeks to go
Posted by Chip Cunliffe

Tuesday, 20 Jan 2009 00:00

Did I say we were busy?


With under 6 weeks to go, operationally this is probably the busiest time for us. It’s a case of pulling all the strands together, having all the questions answered and making sure all the I’s are dotted and T’s crossed. Mind you, this will go on until Pen, Ann and Martin are on the ice.


My current focus is tying up the loose ends of the air support being undertaken by Kenn Borek Air (KBA) who have a crew that work out of Resolute Bay. They are a fantastic team who are world renowned for their flying skills over the polar ice, both in the Arctic and Antarctic. A little known fact is that in 2001 a chap at the South Pole became seriously ill, so the Doctor called for evacuation. Nobody was able to fly the guy out. KBA was asked to do the job and so flew a Twin Otter from their base in Calgary over the United States, Mexico, Central America and all the way down to the foot of South America, hopped over to the Antarctic picked up the casualty and took him to hospital. Few others have the capacity and experience to undertake such missions.


I digress…KBA are Catlin Arctic Survey’s air support for good reason. We are currently finalising plans for caching fuel; setting up the Floating Support Bases with compatible communication systems; calculating the differing payloads for the length of sortie’s they need to fly which will change depending upon weather; determining the dates of departure – currently it’s still dark 24 hours a day – understanding the length of runway and thickness of ice for different planes to be able to land for resupplies…and the list goes on.


We’re working with the best, which to all intents and purposes means the likelihood of the expedition succeeding is dramatically enhanced. Ensuring both the Ice Team and those at the Floating Support Bases are kept supplied with food, fuel and other necessities will be down to the professionalism of the pilots and their support team at KBA.


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