Jet Transport— C-17 aircraft
The Air Mobility Command, U.S. Air Force, charters to the U.S. Antarctic Program a number of C-17 round-trips between Christchurch, New Zealand, and McMurdo Station each austral summer from late September to early November. These large, four-engine jets move the bulk of the passengers and priority cargo during this period. At this time, landing and take-off are from the annual sea ice runway. C-17s are also used for the August winter fly-in (Winfly) to McMurdo Station and for redeploying people from McMurdo in February at the end of the austral summer. At both times the Pegasus prepared-glacier runway, which is also near McMurdo Station, is used.
The C-17 can carry approximately 55,000 kilograms.
A United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at the annual sea-ice runway near McMurdo Station. The United States Air Forces transports cargo and personnel between Christchurch, New Zealand, and McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The sea ice needs to be at least two meters thick to support the weight of a jet. (NSF/USAP photo by TSgt Rich deLucia/McChord AFB.)