Air Force Plane Makes Debut Trip to South Pole, Antarctica

Christmas came early to the South Pole this year, as the C-17 cargo plane made a special delivery to a group of scientists stationed in the remote area of Antarctica.

The Air Force cargo jet made its debut delivery to the South Pole on Wednesday to assist a group of scientists stationed in the harsh terrain. The airdrop, which was designed to test the capabilities of the jet while providing support to the National Science Foundation group, was led by the crew of McChord Air Force Base in Washington.

The airdrop consisted of pallets built by the Royal New Zealand Defense Force containing approximately 70,000 pounds of supplies. The pallets contained dried food, flour, and canned goods to supply the scientists staying in the area.

“The purpose of this mission is essentially a proof of concept; it gives proof that the airplane and systems are able to do an airdrop in the conditions present at the pole,” said Brig. Gen. Eric Crabtree, commander of the 446th Airlift Wing.

Because of the difficult conditions, the airdrop had been in the planning stages since August. Temperatures in the remote area of Antarctica ranged from -5 to -31 degrees Fahrenheit this time of year, which is summer in the Southern Hemisphere. The wind chill makes it feel like 70 degrees below zero.