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:
- 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.
5) Drive onto the bamboo mats to keep from getting stuck
6)They offloaded all their bags, FRESHIES and medical supplies that we loaded onto the snowmobile sled and took to the station.
7) Cover up the props and keep the plane warm during the crew’s eight hour rest
8) Drag over the heaters to put on the plane
9) Once all heaters were attached and final things brought inside, feed the flight crew, and let them get some rest
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.