Unconventional runways have always presented challenges for flights, but one recent landing took it to a new level: an ice runway.
In a groundbreaking achievement, Norse Atlantic Airways managed to land a Boeing 787 Dreamliner on a unique landing strip in Antarctica known as a “blue ice runway.” This runway, sculpted from the snow and ice, measures 3,000 meters long and 60 meters wide.
The Dreamliner successfully touched down at Troll Airfield just after 2 a.m., with the bright sunlight illuminating the summer landscape in the southern hemisphere. This marked the first time a Dreamliner aircraft had ever reached the sixth continent.
However, it’s important to note that this flight was not a regular passenger route. On board were 45 passengers, including scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute, who had chartered the flight to transport themselves and 12 tons of equipment to the Troll research station in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.
This ambitious journey was no easy feat. The plane embarked on its adventure on November 13 from Oslo, making a stop in Cape Town before continuing southward to complete its historic landing.
The Dreamliner’s spacious cargo capacity made it the perfect choice for this mission, according to Daniel Carey of Aircontact, the broker that coordinated the flight. Its exceptional fuel efficiency was also a crucial factor, enabling the aircraft to reach Antarctica and return to Cape Town without the need for refueling.
In a statement, Norse Atlantic Airways’ CEO, Bjørn Tore Larsen, expressed his pride and excitement about the momentous landing of the first 787 Dreamliner. He credited the highly trained pilots and crew, as well as the state-of-the-art Boeing aircraft, for the successful achievement.
Camilla Brekke, the director of the Norwegian Polar Institute, highlighted the sustainability benefits of using larger aircraft for such operations. She emphasized that these modern, spacious planes have the potential to reduce overall emissions and minimize the environmental impact on Antarctica, a famously fragile continent.
This landmark landing also opens up new opportunities for logistics at Troll, contributing to the advancement of Norwegian research in Antarctica.
1. How was the runway in Antarctica created?
The ice runway in Antarctica, known as a “blue ice runway,” was sculpted from the snow and ice in the region to create a 3,000-meter long and 60-meter wide landing strip.
2. Who were the passengers on the flight?
The flight transported 45 passengers, including scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute, who needed to reach the Troll research station in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.
3. What made the Boeing 787 Dreamliner an ideal aircraft for this mission?
The Dreamliner’s spacious cargo capacity and exceptional fuel efficiency were crucial factors in its selection for the flight to Antarctica. These features allowed the aircraft to transport the necessary equipment and make the journey without refueling.
4. How does this landing benefit Norwegian research in Antarctica?
The successful landing of the Dreamliner opens up new possibilities for logistics at Troll, which will contribute to strengthening Norwegian research efforts in Antarctica.