Leading down south

Negotiating the ‘A-­factor’

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  • Published 20220503
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-74-0
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

IT DAWNED ON me at high altitude above the polar icecap. My ears popped in the ageing plane, tubes of frosty oxygen up my nose, as I hung suspended in a bowl of blue over an endless expanse of Antarctic white. The logistical challenges ahead were enormous: we were embarking on one of the most ambitious inspection programs of Antarctica undertaken by Australia in the past sixty years.

For more than a month in early 2020, our team of four was tasked with criss-crossing over 10,000 kilometres of East Antarctica and the Ross Sea region in a DC-­3 airframe almost seventy years old that had been modernised into a Basler BT-­67 turboprop. Our mission was to visit and officially inspect six stations operated by the Republic of Korea, Germany, China, Russia and Belarus – and to ‘pop in’ to another six stations operated by other nations.

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About the author

Kim Ellis

Kim Ellis is Director of the Australian Antarctic Division.

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