The first flight into Antarctica after three weeks of delay flew out of Christchurch and landed in Antarctica on Monday afternoon.
The flight was delayed for three weeks by big storms with winds in excess of 200km/h, resulting in an extended quarantine for those on board.
Antarctica remains the world's only continent with no cases of COVID-19, so crew members have had to isolate before heading to the icy continent.
US Air Force staff and researchers were granted permission to quarantine in New Zealand before heading to Antarctica.
US Antarctic Program (USAP) representative Tony German says the US Air Force flight finally left Christchurch after waiting since the first week of August due to the storm.
"It blew a lot of drifting snow. We ended up having to clean out the runway, clean up the roads because we have a very minimal crew down there."
USAP crew members have been in isolation for another three weeks, in addition to the mandatory two-week period.
"They've been socially distanced, completely isolated from the rest of Christchurch for the last three weeks," says German.
The plane will spend just a couple of hours down on the ice before returning here to Christchurch.
Onboard will be 26 people who've spent the winter at McMurdo Station.
The Boeing C-19 Globemaster is the first US flight to arrive on the continent since early May.