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TIGER in Antarctica, November 12, 2003
Getting on the C-141
This looks to be an easy flight. There are less than 30 people going down to McMurdo and cargo takes up the rest of the plane. It's not roomy or comfortable, but it's better than my trips two years ago (see Arrival! November 9, 2001). The two aisles of web-and-frame seats are the same, as is the fact that we are all overdressed. But we have a little more room and ability to move around than last time.
Eric in the C-141 enroute to McMurdo
There is actually room at the back of the plane because they had to remove a couple of pallets (hopefully not the one with our luggage) because the plane was overweight. We ask if we can go back there and stretch out but we're told we can't without oxygen masks. They only pressurize the part of the cabin that has passengers and there's not enough oxygen back in the cargo area.
The Air Force guys and gals are quite friendly and we do a fair amount of talking on the way down. With this flight is the Major who is in charge of the logistics into McMurdo for the Air Force. She spends some time on the flight studying military history (working towards a promotion), but also talks with us for quite a while.
Looking out of the cockpit of the C-141
Here's the plane coming in on the north side of Ross Island (see McMurdo Local Geography ) with Mt. Erebus, the southernmost active volcano on Earth, dominating the scene.
Looking at Mt Erebus from the cockpit as were heading into McMurdo
It's a smooth landing, less than 5 hours after leaving Christchurch. We get on a small bus, and then to the Chalet, the main NSF office here at McMurdo. We get a briefing, but most of the newcomers have been here before, so it is a brief briefing.
I get my room assignment. Unfortunately, it is one of the worst rooms on the base. A four-person room with no window, crummy furniture, a lot of traffic, and no convenient TV lounge. Pretty horrible. I'll ask to be moved, but it may be a week or two before that happens. This room is normally left for people who are only spending a few days in McMurdo, but I hear from several people that they've really messed up the room assignments this year. Oh well. At least I'm the first one in the room and grab the best bed.
C-141 after landing on the ice shelf
Dr. Eric R. Christian
NASA HQ Code SS
Washington, DC 20546 USA
This page was last modified on November 13, 2003