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South Pole medical evacuation flight launched

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After comprehensive consultation with outside medical professionals, agency officials decided that a medical situation at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station warrants returning a member of the station's winter crew to a hospital that can provide a level of medical care that is unavailable at the station. (phys.org) Altro...

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clmartin
For details on the two previous mid-winter Twin Otter medevacs from the South Pole in 2001 and 2003, I would recommend http://www.southpolestation.com/news/medevac.html (2001) and http://www.southpolestation.com/news/medevac2003/medevac2003.html (2003). Both pages have detailed timelines and links to the media stories published at the time. In both 2001 and 2003 the aircraft was shutdown on the ground at the South Pole for about 12 hours to allow the crew to rest before the return flight. While in 2001, the ambient temperature was approx -91F, the only issue upon reheating the aircraft prior to departure was a frozen elevator trim cable and freeing the skis from the snow surface (in 2003 bamboo poles were placed under the skis to prevent this from recurring). I was on the ground at the South Pole for both the 2001 and 2003 Medevacs and would be happy to answer any additional questions that Paolo hasn't already covered regarding 2003.
wopri
Thanks for the links, they couldn't be any better!

pagheca
pagheca 1
Hi Chris, do you remember me? :)
pagheca
pagheca 1
yes you do...
myalias
myalias 1
What are the runway conditions like that time of year? Did they need to condition the runway at all before these flights arrived?

How variable is the weather? I know they say forecasts are unreliable, but there are satellite images from POES satellites.
clmartin
My understanding is that the twin otters will be heading to Rothera on the coast of Antarctica to change from wheels to skis and to refuel and rest before beginning the final leg to the South Pole. Rothera (near sea level on the coast) has very different weather than the South Pole on the high Antarctic Plateau (9,300 ft MSL). The coast is characterized by high winds and occasional big storms, but at the moment things seem relatively calm, a forecast is available at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/47zx9efg7 . The high plateau is colder, but calmer since it is not subject to the katabatic winds; you can find the weather at http://weather.noaa.gov/weather/current/NZSP.html . The runway at the South Pole is actually a skiway, so it requires regular dragging to keep it smooth and free of sastrugi. Following the last regularly scheduled flight in late February or early March it would have decayed, but I'm sure in preparation for this landing they have equipment out to prepare it again and they will also place burn barrels to mark the edge. For details on the skiway see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_F._Paulus_Skiway
myalias
myalias 1
Sastrugi. I don't know why I didn't think of that.

I do hope to visit the South Pole one day. I've been trying to learn as much as I can about it.
jordanabrown
Alan Brown 5
These types of flights are difficult in good weather.... and this time of year, you don't get a lot of good weather in Antarctica.

[This poster has been suspended.]

davidrbarnes
Why post a second time, Mr. Hartmann? Your point of pomposity and arrogance was well noted by 14 people in the first instance four days ago. There's no need to re-arrogant the forum by posting again.

FYI, downvoted posts (of which you have many) aren't removed, but are simply hidden after they reach a score of -10. You're the reigning king of such postings, but seem woefully unaware of how the forum works.
carlsonj
I'm amused by the "got his friends to 'down-vote'" remark. He seems unaware of his behavior. I guess it's easier to believe that some secret cabal is conspiring to deny him his natural role in educating the lesser "flyer" beings, rather than to recognize the truth: his taunts and rants are offensive to many people. No collusion required.

In this particular case, it's clear that he's challenging the credentials of the original poster. It should be obvious to even the most casual observer that travel to the pole is, at minimum, "difficult." You don't need much in the way of experience to know that, and yet Mr. Hartmann, "Esq.," seems to think that exposing this person as possibly a less than ideal source of detailed data about winter operations at the South Pole is a necessary and good use of message board bandwidth.

That's why I down-voted his original comment to Mr. Brown, and why I down-voted the new one as well. Anyone else care to share what they think is wrong here?
davidrbarnes
James:

I have to concur with your remarks virtually 100%. My replies to him over the last few weeks (I'd say around Spring 2016 is when I first noticed his attitude), during which time Mr. Hartmann has become particularly active and virulent, make clear my position. Several of my replies are in this thread alone, and, short of very visible comments and/or replies to other posters (no private messages exchanged on my part, and frankly, I don't know if there is a way to do so), have had very little collusion in any downvotes he may have received.

As noted elsewhere (and in your post to which I'm replying), he constantly belittles posters with replies along the lines of "what type ratings do you hold?", "tell us about your experiences in XXX condition". His self-aggrandizement, negativity and toxicity have made the FA Squawk boards a much less pleasant place, and I believe the collective voting of the membership reflect that.
joelwiley
joel wiley 5
Mr. Hartmann has been around for about 5 years. A right click on the username will take you to their profile. You can see how long they have been registered, the number of contributions (photos, squawks, squawk comments, and photo comments) they have posted. Mr. Hartmann has currently posted 274 comments and I admit posting somewhat more. Mr. Prigge points out below the sage advice of not feeding trolls. I share his lament over succumbing to temptation.
davidrbarnes
Joel,

I did see that his posts dated back much farther, but he has, since March 1, 2016, posted 155 of his 274 remarks. This works out to 57% of his posts made the last 5% of his history (112 of 2386 days). In that same time, his level of virulence and lack of civility have increased. He wasn't ALWAYS civil before, but has become less so quite recently.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
PM me in the messages section of discussions.
wopri
I agree with both of you James and David, but in my experience it is best not to argue with trolls, as they thrive on this. I find it hard sometimes, and in this thread I have succumbed to the temptation, but it is better to simply downvote troll without responding to their dribble.
OzarkTrail
Ronnie B. 4
Not where I would want to have an medical emergency
carlsonj
Not just "where" but "when." Winter is a particularly unforgiving time for travel to the pole.
iflyrjs
Brings back many fond memories of operating C141's to Point McMurdo
gzelna
Greg Zelna 2
Nice. My father flew Connies From Christchurch to McMurdo with the USN. His plane was the Phoenix 6, the sister ship Pegasus (also a C-121) crash landed in a storm and was scuttled in Antarctica. He did two deployments with Operation Deep Freeze. During his second 6 month deployment we all temporarily relocated to NZ (roundabouts 1972) so we'd see him every so often. Amazing country, great time that was....
kiwipop
Out of Christchurch?
djames225
djames225 4
So far a success...returned from Amundsen-Scott to Rothera Station and are resting before flying back to South America
wopri
Great! Do you have a link to a report!
clmartin
NSF Press release on the successful flight from South to Rothera is available at http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=138999&org=NSF&from=news
wopri
Thanks! Kenn Borek Air delivered once again!
djames225
djames225 2
Thanks Chris and sorry Wolfgang,,,for some reason the link I had didnt stick
joelwiley
joel wiley 2
Thanks for the update.
Squigish
Squigish 7
The two aircraft are https://flightaware.com/live/flight/CGKBG and http://flightaware.com/live/flight/CGKBO
cmuncy
Thanks for the links!
TorstenHoff
The flight has reached the South Pole.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/21/health/south-pole-medical-evacuation/index.html
djames225
djames225 3
Now its a waiting game for another break in weather to get back to Rothera and then onwards..
wopri
Good job so far. I'm surprised the report mentions the pilot as Kenn Borek, and affirms he did the two preceding rescue flights. Looks like the quality reporting did not get it that Kenn Borek Air is the name of the charter airline.

Here is a link to another report.


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/21/antarctica-polar-rescue-planes-medical-emergency
djames225
djames225 2
I wont say anything about where the 1st report came from, Wolfgang, but for 3 words...CableNewsMuts
NZSP
The weather is much better there now. The weather office is now taking weather observations every hour now (since 20/1500Z)instead of every three hours prior to that time.

NZSP 210450Z 04005KT 9999 IC FEW030 FEW070 M53/ A2860 RMK CLN AIR 00311KT ALL WNDS GRID SDF/HDP
Highflyer1950
I think previous experience and overall cost may have been a deciding factor.
canuck44
canuck44 2
As is having the availability of ski-equipped, STOL extended range aircraft with the 150 gallon (1000 lb) cabin auxiliary tank to give it the range to reach the station from Rothera. Even that would be close so I would suspect they have a second tank as well and would have to take on fuel at the station, but they would be limited to the pilots, one attendant and the patient. The weather will certainly effect their fuel burn. Hopefully they can find a window of descent weather to get in and out, but it will still add up to 20 hours plus turn around time.
djames225
djames225 2
EXCELLENT...crew, both aircraft and 2 patients are safely in Punta Arenas Chile..

http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/south-pole-rescue-flight-of-2-sick-workers-arrives-in-chile/ar-AAhuWiG?li=AAggFp5&ocid=mailsignout
joelwiley
joel wiley 2
Good news that all are safe. Now the Monday morning quarterbacking can start.
While not directly related to the technical aspects of antarctic aeronautics, 3 questions come to mind: 1) what was the cost of the mission, 2) what medical condition warranted the expense and risk of evacuation, and 3) would the 2nd patient have been evacuated if the mission had not been set up for the first patient?
djames225
djames225 2
For anyone interested as to what it might be like flying Antarctic this time of year, and incase you havent seen it, here's the W5 story on the 2001 rescue mission.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/w5/canadians-pulled-off-daring-2001-south-pole-rescue-1.1127682
jordanabrown
Alan Brown 1
I am rather surprised that they are using Twin Otters rather than C-130's. What ever works best though is the best answer.
wopri
As far as I know Twin Otters are rated at even colder temperatures than C-130's. Also Kenn Borek air has done this before, so they are probably the turn-to guys in these situations.

On another note, as I'm writing this, 6 people have down voted this squawk. I don't get it, what reason can they give for down voting this?
andromeda07
I'm really baffled by the downvoting in recent months. I suspect a lot of cranks have joined the ranks.

[This poster has been suspended.]

Highflyer1950
Careful now, you might just get voted off the island!
canuck44
canuck44 2
We don't know how much usable runway they have available either and the twin is a STOL aircraft which doesn't need much for a T/O run especially if it can get a little wind on the nose. The cold aspect is probably not that much a factor as undoubtedly they will do a hot fuel and shut very little down.

I know of at least two previous MediVacs from there...one for acute Appendicitis and the other for a rapidly growing breast cancer on a female scientist.
pagheca
pagheca 3
The female was a doctor. There is a movie about that, Ice Bound, with Susan Sarandon in the role of Dr. Jerry Nielsen (she died in 200, RIP). The other was not appendicitis AFAIKN. The reason was not released at the time.
wopri
Some info on the two successful missions of Kenn Borek Air are in the following link:

http://www.calgarysun.com/2016/06/14/antarctic-rescue-underway-by-calgary-airline


As for the film with Susan Sarandon, could it be it was about another rescue mission using C-130s? If I remember right that's what was shown in Ice Bound.
wopri
I've read about those two medivacs. As for the shutting down, there is at least one report that says they didn't shut down last time, but that may be a rumour. Anyway, if anybody can do it it's Kenn Borek Air.
HoneyWindsor
The female scientist was an October evac. There were two winter evacs, both men with internal infections (pancreas and gallbladder if I recall correctly)
pagheca
pagheca 3
That's correct Wolfgang. C-130L can't flight at this temperature. Nothing can beat the old good TOs in that weather. A pity they do not build them anymore.

p.s. I was at the pole in winter 2003 and actively participated to a medevac that year.
wopri
Thanks for your input. I suppose that must have been one of the highlights of your career.

You might be happy to learn that Viking Air from Vancouver Island is building new Twin Otters.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/things-that-work-twin-otters-reincarnation-is-flying-high/article22184667/

http://www.vikingair.com
pagheca
pagheca 3
Yes. Very happy, thanks, and I am sure a lot of people, specially those taking care of Antarctic logistics is happy too.

I like those aircrafts. I spent days on them (sometime flying them... courtesy of the pilots) going from station to station. They may land in less than 100 m on ice.

LC-130 (sorry for the incorrect identification in my previous email) are tough too but surrender AFAIK at about -35 C ground temperature at the Pole. Aircrafts cannot switch off engines after landing at the Pole, even in summer. If they do, engines must be re-heated before starting. This is not a big issue for the TOs but takes long time and effort for the Hercules.

I have been told - but I have no evidences about - that the problem is not the winter temperature, but the very high temperature gradient in the boundary layer at the Pole. This may cause cracks in the windscreen during landing and take off.

Maybe someone here can check if this is a true story or not? I would be curious to know, based on evidence, no opinions.
Canary6
Used to work with Air Guard Pilot with the 109th NYANG out of Schenectady NY flew C130's and were the go to people for support of Antartica. At the time they were the only unit certified to fly to the Pole
gzelna
Greg Zelna 2
2 Super Constellations (that I know of) also supported Antarctic operations attached to VXE-6 , The Phoenix 6 and the Pegasus (my dad flew The Phoenix 6)
khaiduk
I saw they also have a DC3 in their fleet. I see those used a lot in cold weather climates as well. I guess there are limited choices.

[This poster has been suspended.]

canuck44
canuck44 18
That was probably one of the top ten pompous, arrogant rants on this forum. There are lots of "flyers" here that have much to contribute. By your definition a flyer is a passenger who should ask "the court's opinion" as to whether they can contribute...or apparently to you, "the little people". You might consider those little people are likely to be retired pilots, former military pilots, mechanics, designers, aviation executives, flight surgeons,aviation physiologists, flight attendants, avionics techs, flight nurses and medical techs, aircraft sales people. I am sure many of the ATP types look at you as an "Indian" but they don't feel the need to put down your contributions.

Personally, I would encourage all the FLYERS to continue contributing.
davidrbarnes
The only reason that this may not break the top ten is because Mr. Hartmann has a long history of pomposity and arrogance in this forum. I'm quite certain he owns all of the top ten, regardless of whether this breaks into the list.
Highflyer1950
sorry couldn't help it......did Hartmann go off the reservation again?

[This poster has been suspended.]

davidrbarnes
Your words, SIR, all over the last month:
* "flyers" who infest this forum
* "fliers" cluttering up this forum
* My concern is the infestation of this "site"
* this "site" is being taken over by "flyers", who have no need or any real interest in the technicalities of aircraft ops
* they take over and clutter this site up
* who do NOT have a technical background in issues like this, do not clutter up the screen with unqualified and unsupported opinions just to see ourselves in type

Infest: be present (in a place or site) in large numbers, typically so as to cause damage or disease.
Clutter: a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass
Takeover: an act of assuming control of something

How is an "infestation" welcome? How is "clutter" welcome? How often are "takeovers" welcome? And how in the English Language does that type of tone seem welcoming to "flyers"?
Highflyer1950
No, really, I think "girl chat" is an excellent place for you to go!
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 4
Thanks for enlightening me on Girl Chat, I'm headed there now!!!
Highflyer1950
You know that was a dig at Hartmann, right?
davidrbarnes
You're slipping, Mr. Hartmann. You forgot to rant against the use of the word "tarmac".

Additionally, as Canuck44 points out, many of us have aviation backgrounds besides being pilots. All are welcome in this forum.

As I've repeatedly suggested, if you're unhappy with the people on this forum, you're more than welcome to pack up and leave for a forum moderated by and reserved exclusively for pilots.

[This poster has been suspended.]

Highflyer1950
Well done, you managed agin to take up space and say nothing relevant!
davidrbarnes
In a previous post(24MAY2016), you wrote:
soon as I see the word "tarmac" I know right away the article was written by someone who is 1) clue-less about aviation and 2) dosnt care.

(Interestingly, in that same post, you referred to "some damn fool "flier"". Yet another example of your lack of welcome to non-pilots on this forum, and one which I failed to note earlier.)

Perhaps you and your AME should discuss your mental state before renewing your medical (assuming Third Class Medical reform doesn't get passed before your certificate expires).

14CFR Part 67.107 prohibits issuance of a medical certificate to one who has mental disorders characterized, in part, by "delusions, hallucinations, grossly bizarre or disorganized behavior". Just today I've seen you attempt to convince yourself and/or the other participants on the board that you are less than welcoming to non-pilots and now claim you've not ranted against the use of the word "tarmac."

What class do you hold, SIR?

[This poster has been suspended.]

joelwiley
joel wiley 8
Not sure what it is you understand.

David Barnes was quoting you regarding your lack of recall on "ranting" against "flyers".

The thread from which he quoted is found here:
http://flightaware.com/squawks/view/1/1_year/new/55620/Airport%20Police%20Investigate%20Possible%20Bomb%20Threat%20On%20Plane%20At%20LAX

One might consider his reference that "your AME should discuss your mental state" an ad hominem argument, as well as your 'You "know" that anyone who disagrees with you must be nuts !'.

Re: tarmac,
the word appears to have become somewhat of a common term for flat surfaces at an airport. Coke is a commonly used word for most cola beverages even though technically it is a registered trademark of the Coca Cola company who may raise objections to it's general use. Much akin to your 'tarmac' reference.

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/tarmac

KPVF is listed as having an asphalt surface:
http://www.airnav.com/airport/kpvf

This falls into the generalized term of 'tarmac', albeit with some differences:

http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-tarmac-and-vs-asphalt-and-vs-bitumen/

IMO, tarmac for runways and taxiways is a more generally accepted usage than your apparent usage of 'flyers'.

[This poster has been suspended.]

joelwiley
joel wiley 2
My post did not relate to your questioning Mr. Barnes about Antarctic weather. I was unclear about that which you understood. I do not recall seeing a post by Mr. Barnes regarding Antarctic conditions. There were comments from Chris Martin and Alan Brown.
djames225
djames225 7
You are a pompous ass who is involved in aviation ...about as much as a pig can fly!
GO SOMEWHERE ELSE AND ACT THE ASS..please!
wopri
According to your definition, I'm a flyer Peter. Without me and people like me there would no airlines and all that goes with them.

There have been incidences where I could contribute because I have been to these places, like the Magdalen Islands, Goose Bay, or Bwabwata National Park in Namibia where the pilot of an Air Mozambique Embraer flew his aircraft into the ground.

I don't think there ever was anybody in this forum who knew more about aviation than preacher, and he would happily engage in a polite conversation with anybody, "flyer" or pilot, and patiently explain to any non-pilots why they were wrong when it needed to be said.

If you are such a great source of knowledge and wisdom as you seem to think, why don't you follow his example instead of constantly coming back with your pet peeve that "flyers" should keep their mouth shut on this forum.

[This poster has been suspended.]

wopri
The usual reply is "Don't feed the troll!"

I hope everybody applies this from now on, otherwise this squawk will be hijacked, as so many others have been in the past.
djames225
djames225 7
Personally Wolfgang, I wish there was a moderator who could banish his butt to a different forum...just my 2 cents
wopri
Well, free speech entails the freedom to make a fool of yourself, and Peter does at good job at that. As long as there's no permanent damage we might have to put up with it.
davidrbarnes
While true, free speech is not guaranteed in a private venue. FA, if they choose, could revoke his membership and ban future participation. However, that would deny the rest of us great amusement at Mr. Hartmann's expense.
joelwiley
joel wiley 4
Freedom of speech doesn't imply a right to have an audience.
wopri
You are spot on with your comment on the amusement factor achieved by our dear friend. :)

[This poster has been suspended.]

joelwiley
joel wiley 6
res ipsa loquitur
djames225
djames225 2
I couldn't have said it any better joel
canuck44
canuck44 5
There must be a shortage of ambulances to chase for the resident self-appointed diction monitor. His time would be better studying spent language usage in countries and areas other than within his immediate county. I didn't see any restriction on the forum to Hazzard County residents.
joelwiley
joel wiley 8
[
( "FLYER" = someone who rides in BACK of someone ELSE's airplane..who found the experience so emotionally charged they have to come in here and blabber away how badly they need to "be important".....
]
is, I believe a Hartmann creation. I was unable to find that definition in Webster's or the OED.
A more likely reference may be this one:

http://www.bartleby.com/73/2019.html
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 7
Your specialty apparently is arrogance and rudely displayed ignorance. Perhaps you might dabble in the idea of not adding your insulting posts so that you don't so blatantly divulge your lack of social and technical skills. You have a superiority complex which is clearly unearned.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
I guess the operation got under way yesterday June 19 .
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/two-planes-undertake-dangerous-south-pole-rescue-mission/
joelwiley
joel wiley 2
They don't appear on the airport page, but it is in FA's secondary service area.
http://flightaware.com/live/airport/SCCI
djames225
djames225 2
It actually got underway June 14, joel...that's when had Calgary departure and are now in Chile...right now its a Rothera Station weather waiting game in Punta Arenas.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/kenn-borek-air-weather-delays-june-20-1.3643208
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
My error. Thanks for the correction.
djames225
djames225 2
No problem...I do appreciate the insight and comments you, and many others, give on this site.
Stephenb84
What's the best guess on the cost of this med evac?
NF2G
I bet every health insurance provider in the world would say it is "out of network". :)

(Apoligies in advance if this appears twice. FA's "your posting will be conserved" does not always mean that it will be saved and posted after login.)
pagheca
pagheca 1
I may be wrong (not a good memory...) but I remember in 2003 was said to be 600,000 USD.

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