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Dash-7 Aircraft

Location: BAS Dash7 Aircraft

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The BAS Dash-7 aircraft landing on the blue-ice runway at Sky-Blu Field Station.

The de Havilland Dash-7 aircraft is a high wing, four engine, turboprop aircraft. The aircraft has a wing span of 93 ft. (28.4 m), length of 80 ft 6 in. (24.5 m) and a maximum take-off weight of 47,000 lbs (21,320 kg). Like the Twin Otter the aircraft is of rugged construction and has good Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) performance.

The version operated by BAS has a variety of technical modifications including long range fuel tanks with a jettison system, large cargo door, strengthened cargo floor, enhanced avionics and navigation systems. The prime role for the aircraft is as an intercontinental link between the Falkland Islands and the BAS station at Rothera. The aircraft has additional modifications to allow dual magnetometers to be fitted to the wing tips. When not flying on intercontinental or survey missions, the aircraft operates south of Rothera to the Sky-Blu ice runway to position drummed fuel for the Twin Otter aircraft in the field.

The flight from Mount Pleasant Airport in the Falkland Islands to Rothera takes approximately 5½ hours and carries around 12 people. The flight is very dependent on the weather and is only permitted when there is also good weather at an alternative airport on the Antarctic Peninsula. If the weather should close in at Rothera, a diversion would become necessary. Whilst it can be fine and sunny in the Falkland Islands, the weather at Rothera can be very different, so accurate weather forecasts are important.

Next stop: Rothera Research Station