7 October 2013
RNZAF ANTARCTIC FLIGHT LANDS IN CHALLENGING CONDITIONS
A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Boeing 757 has completed its second flight of the season to Antarctica, after weather conditions forced a delayed landing.
The aircraft landed safely at approximately 5.00pm today in challenging weather conditions after a two and a half hour delay.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Murray McCully, was onboard, along with 116 other passengers and 11 RNZAF crew. Passengers included 94 personnel supporting the US Antarctic Programme, 16 Antarctica New Zealand passengers, and seven NZ Defence Force personnel.
Air Component Commander, Air Commodore (AIRCDRE) Mike Yardley, commended NZ Defence Force personnel.
"Our pilots are well trained to cope with all adverse events, including weather deterioration and emergency landings," AIRCDRE Yardley said.
"Thanks to the skills of the pilots and the robust procedures in place, the aircraft landed safely having had to descend below the normal instrument approach height."
Antarctic weather is highly changeable and subtle shifts in wind speed or direction can have significant effects on the conditions at the destination airfield. The actual and forecast weather conditions are carefully monitored by the crew during the flight. In this case the weather changed late in the flight at a point where the remaining fuel no longer allowed a safe return to NZ."
For further information please contact Geoff Davies on 021 806 926