NZ Defence works on Antarctic skibird

  • 25/11/2017
The skibird are the only aircraft in the US military equipped with retractable skis to be able to land on snow and ice, as well as conventional runways.
The skibird are the only aircraft in the US military equipped with retractable skis to be able to land on snow and ice, as well as conventional runways. Photo credit: Andrew Mandemaker

Two aircraft technicians from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) have made their way to Antarctica to work on skibird aircraft.

The skibird are the only aircraft in the US military equipped with retractable skis to be able to land on snow and ice, as well as conventional runways.

The NZDF technicians have joined a 24-member maintenance team that works 12-hour shifts at Williams Field to maintain four of the skibird LC-130 aircraft.

The US military deploys the LC-130 to provide airlift within Antarctica to support US scientific research and will fly between 200 and 250 missions during this summer season.

During the 2016-17 season, the wing flew about 2550 researchers and support staff plus 1360 tonnes of cargo and 1.1 million litres of fuel to research stations across the continent.

NZN