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1997-1998 austral summer field
season begins early
Under clear skies, at noon on 21 August 1997, the first Air Force
C-141 air transport flight of the 1997 winter-fly-in, or winfly, touched down at the Pegasus runway,
which is about 10 kilometers from McMurdo Station. According to the National Science Foundation winter
station manager, the flight was greeted by nearly perfect weather--clear skies, no wind, and a
temperature of -31°F. The flight's arrival marked the end of the McMurdo Station's winter period
with the arrival of new personnel, fresh food, needed cargo and equipment, and long-awaited mail from
friends and families. Despite some weather problems and equipment failures, Air Force pilots were able to
complete the four flights of this winter-fly-in by 27 August. About 186 additional people joined the
wintering population at the station. These people, along with winter staff, begin preparing buildings,
vehicles, and related facilities for the main deployment of personnel in October. Some early-season science
projects, such as collecting data on the ozone hole, also started with the winter-fly-in.
The photographs that follow depict the environmental conditions at Pegasus during the 7-day event and
were provided by U.S. Antarctic Program participants.
The road grader pulls the proof cart to prepare the Pegasus blue-ice runway for winter fly-in
An Air Force C-141 Starlifter touches down on the Pegasus ice runway on 21 August 1997. Photo
by Major Paul Giovino, U.S. Naval Antarctic Support Unit, Christchurch, New
Pegasus Airfield control tower and associated buildings used to support flight operations are
surrounded by ground fog caused by the airplanes and vehicles. Photo was taken by Bill Haals, Antarctic
Support Associates, on 27 August 1997, when the ambient air temperature was
A C-141 on the Pegasus ice runway near McMurdo Station on 21 August 1997. Photo by Paul
Giovino, U.S. Naval Antarctic Support Unit, Christchurch, New Zealand.