Hi Fly 801 took off from Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday, November 2.
Captain Carlos Mirpuri set foot in Antarctica.
Marc Bow / Hi Fly
The crew of the Hi Fly 801 (and return trip to Cape Town, Hi Fly 802) were led by Captain Carlos Mirpuri, who is also the vice president of the Hi Fly.
Overall, the round trip flights plus a short stop in Antarctica for unloading take about three hours and cover 2,500 nautical miles.
The blue runway at the Wolf’s Fang hotel is designated a Class C airport, even though it’s not technically an airport. That means only highly specialized crew can fly there due to the challenging conditions.
“The colder the better,” explained Mipuri in her captain’s diary.
“The track is carved along the runway using special equipment, and after cleaning and etching we get the right braking factor; the runway is 3,000 meters long, landing and stopping a heavy A340 on the airport. That won’t be a problem.”
While blue ice is beautiful, it can also cause concern for pilots because of its glare.
Mipuri added: “The reflection is great and the right eyewear helps you to adjust your eyes between the outside view and the instrumentation. Non-flying pilots have an important role to play in creating the captions. conventional and complementary, especially in the late stages of the approach.”
Hello Fly 801 approaching the runway.
Marc Bow / Hi Fly
The first recorded flight to Antarctica was a Lockheed Vega 1 monoplane in 1928, flown by George Hubert Wilkins, an Australian military pilot and explorer. He took off from Deception Island in the South Shetland Islands. The project is funded by William Randolph Hearst, a wealthy American publishing magnate.
Short exploratory flights like these are how scientists and cartographers get important information about Antarctica’s topography.
To this day, there are no airports on the White Continent, but there are 50 landing airports and runways.
Australia and South Africa are just two of the global powers with interests in Antarctica.
Since most people arrive on the White Continent by ship, seeing the A340 land on a runway is certainly impressive – and means there will be many more such landings in the future.
Image of Marc Bow’s Airbus 340, provided by Hi Fly.