2021-2022 Science Planning Summaries
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2021-2022 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 up to four 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 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 2021-22 field science program as supportable throughout the season.

Fixed Wing Aircraft

New York Air National Guard (ANG)

The New York Air National Guard 109th Airwing LC-130 Hercules aircraft will provide research and operational support to South Pole Station, West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide, and Siple Dome.

Kenn Borek Air

Kenn Borek Air (KBA) will provide two DHC-6 Twin Otters and one DC-3 Basler aircraft to support a number of USAP operations on continent. The Basler will be based out of McMurdo for the duration of the season, while the Twin Otters will be based out of McMurdo, South Pole, and WAIS Divide at different times throughout the season.

In addition, KBA may be operating one DHC-6 Twin Otter and one DC-3 Basler for Antarctica New Zealand (ANZ) throughout several periods during the season.

Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS)

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