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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.

Road grader
The road grader pulls the proof cart to prepare the Pegasus blue-ice runway for winter fly-in landings.
C-141 Starlifter touches down
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 Zealand.
Pegasus Airfield
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 -54°F.
C-141 on runway
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.