As both New Zealand's Scott Base and the United States' McMurdo Station are on Ross Island, New Zealand and American personnel share flights to and from Antarctica. A plane bound for Antarctica is shown here being loaded. For most of the year the planes land on sea ice. Early in the season when the sea ice is thick and strong, US Galaxy and Starlifter planes are used. When the ice gets thinner, Royal New Zealand Air Force Hercules are used. Old and noisy, they are known for their ability to take off and land on short runways and their safety (a four-engine Hercules can land with only one engine working). When the sea-ice landing strip becomes unusable, a runway is made on the Ross Ice Shelf, and US Hercules equipped with skis are then the plane of choice.
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United States Air Force
Photograph by Shane A. Cuomo
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