Field Update: Dec. 3, 2010

Walking outside of Crary Lab today, I saw the Kiwi helicopter conducting a sling load transport of fuel barrels from the heliport down the hill. This helicopter, designated HNF, is a different design from the USAP helicopters, which are A-stars or Bell-212s. The tail rotor is enclosed in a tunnel, which makes the helicopter very maneuverable and also very quiet.

To accomplish the sling load, the helo tech has the cargo wrapped in a net, or sometimes surrounded by cargo straps with a long cable attached to them. The helicopter flies over so the helo tech can duck underneath and connect the load onto the line coming from the helicopter. The helo then lifts up and carries the sling load away to it’s destination somewhere out on the ice.

It all looks fairly easy but I’m sure it’s not. It is fun to watch though!!

The mooring is being readied for installation at the ANDRILL camp today. Gary Wilson and his team are preparing the gravimeter by making measurements at a base station here in McMurdo to check for instrument drift. They were supposed to fly out to camp today (Friday), but they will now go on December 6th (Monday) if the weather out on the ice shelf clears.

You have to be flexible to travel out onto the ice – clouds, wind and fog can all delay a scheduled flight and conditions can sometimes change quickly.

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