The final Antarctic flight of the season for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Boeing 757 is being planned for the beginning of April, concluding this year’s mission in an operation that has been ongoing for more than 50 years.
A week ago the 2nd last flight of the 757 brought back the last of 22 personnel of the Royal New Zealand Defence Force from McMurdo Station and Scott Base on Antarctica to the Harewood Terminal on Christchurch International Airport on New Zealand’s South Island. Between October and February up to 220 men and women from all branches of the military served on the cold, icy continent that many nations claim parts of.
The RNZAF not only supports its own scientists and troops, but also those of the United States. Moving their equipment, construction materials and other supplies required the involvement of 60 Army soldiers and logistic specialists, a RNZDF statement reads.
Although the RNZAF Boeing 757 is the primer star of the show, if needed the service also dispatches search and rescue units. Payment for the services of the RNZAF – simply called Operation Antarctic – by organisations involved on the South Pole continent gives the New Zealand economy a yearly boost of 162 million dollar. The operation started in 1965.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Archive image of the RNZAF Boeing 757 on the ice of Scott Base, Antarctica (Image © Royal New Zealand Defence Force)