2020-2021 Science Planning Summaries
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2020-2021 USAP Field Season
Air Operations

McMurdo Station

A Bell Helicopter, Operated by Air Center
New York Air National Guard (ANG) LC-130 Airplane
Twin Otter Aircraft, Operated by Kenn Borek Air

McMurdo-based aircraft, including helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, and uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) will continue to support USAP researchers and program logistical functions.


Air Center Helicopters, Inc.

Air Center Helicopters, Inc. (ACHI) is contracted by the NSF to operate two helicopters this season in support of approved research and operational efforts in the vicinity of McMurdo Station. Missions typically take place in McMurdo Sound, the McMurdo Dry Valleys, the Royal Society Range, Ross Ice Shelf, and Ross Island regions and will be supported by light (Astar B3es) and/or medium (Bell 412) airframes.

Antarctica New Zealand (ANZ) will not be contracting Astar B3s from Southern Lakes Helicopters (SLH) this season, per usual, so USAP aircraft are slated to provide several NSF-approved quid pro quo missions in support of ANZ’s 2020-21 field science program as supportable throughout the season.

Fixed Wing Aircraft

New York Air National Guard (ANG)

No intracontinental LC-130 Hercules flights are planned this season. The New York Air National Guard 109th Airwing will stage three LC-130s out of Christchurch, NZ during the planned intercontinental mission gap, in the event that off-continent emergency response is required.

Kenn Borek Air

Kenn Borek Air will provide two DHC6 Twin Otters and one DC3 Basler aircraft in support of USAP operations on continent. Planned missions will primarily support South Pole station and West Antarctic field camps.

Uncrewed Aircraft Systems

There will be limited UAS operating in the McMurdo area and deep field this season. NIWC Air Traffic Control and ASC Aviation Ops will advise aircraft of all UAS activities and deconflict airspace, as required.