Medevac Process

Preparation started as soon as we found out the medevac was approved. Many things were done including setting up fuel pit, grooming ski way, preparing for an emergency, getting supplies ready and much more.

Here are steps for the landing and take off:

  1. last minute early morning grooming to make sure the ski way is ready


2) smudge pots lit by Max and team 2 hours before so the plane can see them. The pilots said they saw them from 15 miles out.

3) The plane has landed! We were all cheering from far away while the plane was being marshaled in.


4) During the first medevac in 2003, the warm skis melted the snow getting the plane stuck to ice. So now they use bamboo mats to get the plane off the snow. medevac_schwarz-0144_22-06-16

5) Drive onto the bamboo mats to keep from getting stuckmedevac_schwarz-0170_22-06-16

6)They offloaded all their bags, FRESHIES and medical supplies that we loaded onto the snowmobile sled and took to the station.

That is me in the big red with blue hat standing next to Lindsey in the black and green coat.


7) Cover up the props and keep the plane warm during the crew’s eight hour restmedevac_schwarz-0209_22-06-16medevac_schwarz-0185_22-06-16

8) Drag over the heaters to put on the planemedevac_schwarz-0222_22-06-16

9) Once all heaters were attached and final things brought inside, feed the flight crew, and let them get some restmedevac_schwarz-0329_22-06-16medevac_schwarz-0262_22-06-16

Then: Eight hours later

10) Do the reverse, load everything back on, including two new passengers, refuel for the long flight, take off the heaters and off they go.


11) They went to the other end of the ski way so they could head North. And once again we were all alone at the South Pole.


Note: All of these photos were taken by Robert Schwarz, a telescope scientist here who was the only one allowed to take photos during this process.



  1. This is so cool to see a little behind the scenes. And while not ideal, pretty incredible for you guys to be a part of this whole event. Good work to Max and all for a well lit runway! Seeing the light 15 miles away seems pretty impressive.


  2. Wow, this is great stuff! Very interesting about using the bamboo mat and the smudge pots. And thanks for the photos (Robert Schwarz too). Photos make it look like a really clear night…I think I see stars (or need to wipe down my computer monitor). Thanks so much for sharing!


  3. Great team, great pilots, amazing story and pictures. Thanks for letting us see “how you made it”, including some technical details. Not clear to me why heaters units aren’t loaded on sleds rather than wheels… I guess they sink very much on snow, leaving deep ditches in the skiway… But, again, congratulations.


  4. Will never forget running phone patches whe they came into get Dr Jerri Nielsen when she had cancer. The Bamboo mats sure did the trick. So happy for everyone. Great on. Glenna N0OJO IN SEQUIM WA


  5. I’m glad to say once again are people do great things down there good job to all I’m so glad everything worked out for the best


  6. Thanks so much for sharing this momentous event. So much preparation, so many others behind it all, Photos that I would not have seen any other time in my life. Robert Schwarz, thank you for permitting these to be seen by us.


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