Special missions: Antarctica
The world of Private Jets is beautiful because sometimes you are required to fly special missions that very few people did.
One of my special mission was the Antarctica, South Pole.
To fly down there on board our Gulfstream it became necessary to get specific equipment go for a special training for severely inhospitable destination. The training was run by the organiser of the mission, White Desert Antarctica.
I went with my crew to Cape Town first, and from there we started getting ready for the flight to the runway Wolf Fang, in the north of the continent of Antarctica, 800 km from the coast line.
From Cape Town, the flight is 5h.30 mins, but there’s a closer way to get to the South Pole which is from Argentina. From Tierra del Fuego to Mc Murdo scientific station the flight time is only 3h.30 mins.
This is located in the west peninsula of the continent.
First thing to do was to obtain all the necessary cloths for us and for all our customers too. Me and the crew went for shopping for ultra-technical cloths, ideal for temperatures up to -99 degrees, following the direction given by White Desert. Boots, jacket, leggings, trousers, gloves, sweater, hat and socks.
Additionally, sun screen (the sun is very strong down there!) and lip protection balm.
We previously scheduled a meeting with White Desert to get their approval on the cloths we bought and get then the training for severely inhospitable destination.
We spoke about technical elements related to the Private Jet, such as the structure of the runway. It’s made of scratched ice, that takes twelve hours to freeze. Basically, is possible to do only one landing or take off twice a day.
The runway is made on a piece of ice 4 km depth and several km wide.
In conclusion, they agreed on leaving the Private Jet’s APU on at all time, to prevent frozen engines.
We spoke about landing, take off and safety procedures, eventual refuel or maintenance assistance (very difficult get).
Then we discussed about objective problems once on ground: cold, sun, light reflection, distances appearing shorter than they really are, hunger, circadian rhythm (in the Antarctic summer there are 24 h of light), biological needs, weather changes and how to protect yourself if you are far away from the camp during a storm.
On the day of the mission we were all super excited!
During the flight there was a perfect weather on route, and thrilled atmosphere in the cabin.
Only one mistake: nobody thought about get dressed on time and I ended up in the ice-made runway with my uniform, the stockings and the high heels!
As soon as we wore more appropriated cloths after customers have disembarked, we started exploring. The camp was made of very comfortable and luxury igloos and one big tent as restaurant/reception. The other occupants of the camp were scientists from various part of the world: Canada, Russia, China, USA, Alaska…. They were there to study the ice and the environment.
They were living in camping tents, protected by ice blocks disposed as igloos.
Above all, the silence was defeating and the light reflection was dazzling.
Very few humans had stepped on those mountains. We were on the sixth continent….. with a Private Jet!
The experience has been absolutely superb.
In short, this was the best place I have ever visited in my life – so far.