2018-2019 USAP Field Season
McMurdo-based aircraft, including helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, and uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) will continue to support USAP researchers and program logistical functions.
PHI, Inc. will provide helicopter support with four available aircraft (two AS-350-B2 Astars and two Bell 212s, plus a spare 212) based out of McMurdo Station. The helicopters will support research in and around McMurdo Sound, the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Royal Society Range, and Ross Island.
In order to receive extensive maintenance during the off-season, both Astars and one 212 will sail north on the supply vessel in late January, and the two remaining 212s will fly north on a C-17 in late February.
Southern Lakes Helicopters
In addition, Antarctica New Zealand will be providing a B3 Astar (operated by Southern Lakes Helicopters) from about mid-October 2018 through mid-February 2019. ANZ and USAP may collaborate on their helicopter tasking, if necessary and supportable.
Fixed Wing Aircraft
New York Air National Guard (ANG)
The New York Air National Guard 109th Airwing LC-130 Hercules will provide research and operational support to South Pole Station and deep-field locations including West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide, Byrd Camp, Siple Dome, AGAP South, Camp 20, and Subglacial Lake Mercer.
Kenn Borek Air
Kenn Borek Air will provide three DHC6 Twin Otter and one DC3 Basler aircraft to support a number of projects throughout the USAP area of operations. They will be based at South Pole and WAIS for much of the season.
Antarctica New Zealand
In addition, Antarctica New Zealand will be operating a Twin Otter for a period of time during the 2017-18 season. The Antarctica New Zealand Twin Otter will support USAP missions for approximately one month.
Uncrewed Aircraft Systems
A number of USAP and Antarctica New Zealand projects will operate fixed wing and rotary wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in the Ross Island vicinity and deep field locations.