2023-2024 Science Planning Summary
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2023-2024 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 three helicopters during day shift and up to 2 helicopters during night shift this season in support of approved research and operational efforts in the vicinity of McMurdo Station. Missions typically take place in McMurdo Sound, McMurdo Dry Valleys, 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 an 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 2023-24 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 and West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide camp.

Kenn Borek Air

Kenn Borek Air (KBA) will provide three DHC-6 Twin Otter and two DC-3 Basler aircraft to support a number of USAP operations on continent. Both aircraft types will be based from various locations throughout the season: Twin Otters based at McMurdo Station, WAIS Divide, and Union Glacier; Baslers based at McMurdo Station, WAIS Divide, and South Pole Station.

Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS)

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