The aircraft mission

The agencies involved in this exciting project were:

  • United States National Science Foundation (NSF);
  • British Antarctic Survey;
  • German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR);
  • Australian Antarctic Division (AAD);
  • Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration; and the
  • Japanese National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR).

Nine aircraft were involved in this ambitious project. In addition to the two specially equipped science aircraft from UK and US, seven others supported the project by transporting people, fuel, equipment and supplies to both field camps.

Fuel to AGAP South was moved by air (C130) and by overland traverse, while fuel at AGAP North was supplied via four C17 air drops.

2-3 December 2008: GAMBIT. The BAS twin otter survey aircraft moved to AGAP-North. The survey team was also move to AGAP-North in a BAS support Twin Otter (VPF AZ).

11 December: The USAP utility aircraft transferred to AGAP-South to be in place when the early GAMBIT science team arrived.

17 December 2008: The USAP utility twin otter aircraft began its deployment of 25 seismic stations for the GAMSEIS project. Of the 25 sites to be visited, 15 stations were new installations; 10 existing stations were serviced (~3 hrs per station to be serviced). The stations to be serviced actually took more ground time than the “to be installed” stations. This process included removing the battery data logger box from the ice, which was then brought back for service at AGAP-South and put into another box and installed at another site. Sixteen flight days with a double crew targeted for this effort.

17 December 2008 – 10 January 2009: GAMBIT- USAP survey Twin Otter aircraft began flying at AGAP-South. Fifty-four flights were necessary to complete the science program. The USAP Survey aircraft also conducted flights that required refuelling at AGAP-North.

5–10 January 2009: The BAS Survey Twin Otter and team returned to AGAP-South and continued work. The BAS Survey Twin Otter transfered back to McMurdo via AGO-1, collecting survey data along the way.

10 January 2009: the USAP Survey aircraft transfered back to McMurdo where the geophysical equipment was removed.

16 January 2009: The BAS aircraft will departed McMurdo via Pole for Patriot Hills and Rothera, while the survey team will departed with NSF through New Zealand.