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Carl, aircraft instrumentation engineer

Carl was born in the small picturesque town of Hexham in Northumberland. He graduated from Bradford University in 1997 where he studied electronics, communication and computer engineering. He has been with BAS for a year now and before joining was a Senior Electronics Hardware Engineer at BAE Systems.

Being aware of some of the research that BAS carried out Carl was hoping to join a work culture that would be relaxed and productive. As well as seeking a more challenging and varied role, he was looking for more responsibility, as well as the opportunity to travel to the Antarctic. “I am pleased to report that my expectations have been exceeded, I have more responsibility now as part of a very small team and when working in the field I am my own boss ”.

Aircraft instrumentation engineer:

Carl’s present role is the Aircraft Instrumentation Engineer for Airborne Survey. The job involves repairing, updating and finally packing 2.5 tonnes of geophysical survey scientific equipment to take south. This is all done during the summer, and ‘Come the winter’, he may head south to support on a airborne survey, “Once there I install the scientific equipment on the BAS Twin Otter Aircraft. Once installed the equipment is tested on a few test flights, the survey equipment and make any adjustments or necessary repairs to the equipment”. Along with maintaining the equipment Carl has to organise the logistics of getting the equipment to the Antarctic and back again. Carl often operates out of remote field camps, so has to take his turn at cooking, cleaning, flight following and helping with refuelling.

Humbling experience:

“Operating the geophysical survey equipment during the survey flight has given me the opportunity to see Antarctica — a natural beauty rarely seen by others”.

Carl describes life in Antarctica as “really awesome”. With 24 hours of daylight there is plenty of time for work, although it gets a bit cold, (temperatures dropped to −35°C on the plateau this season). Carl experienced Antarctica for the first time in the 2005/2006 season and is part of a collaborative BAS Italian team working in East Antarctica.

BAS provide the Airborne Survey expertise and the Italians the logistics provide the support. Carl gets to experience the Italian way, good food, good wine and helicopter taxi service! “During the survey I got to stay at a number of bases: Mario Zucchelli the main Italian base, Talos Dome camp, Dome C base and Sitry field camp”.

Other Activities Down South:

“As well as the survey work, last year I was able to take a helicopter trip to visit the emperor penguin colony and even built an Igloo”.

The Good and the bad bits:

“Waking up in the morning and realising you are in a winter wonderland”.

…and the bad… “Knowing you have to go home.”

“It’s a way of life, and a very rewarding and fulfilling one, I love it. The culture and people at BAS are what makes it such a good place to work and this makes for a positive, imaginative and friendly atmosphere to work in with the end result world-class excellence!”