First Antarctic Night Vision Flight
Jason Sanders | September 12, 2008 at 08:56 amby
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Air Force Lt. Col. Jim McGann said the airplane's own lights -- reflecting off of traffic cones -- allowed it to land without electrical runway lights that are too hard to maintain in the frozen environment.
McGann told New Zealand's national radio that the breakthrough flight could mean year-round supply flights for U.S. and New Zealand science bases on the ice.
Traditionally, the onset of the southern hemisphere winter in Antarctica ends flights to the frozen continent for six months as the sun sinks below the horizon.
"At the moment, we make that last trip in February and then don't come back until August," McGann said. "If we can go in and out a couple of times a month, we can go and get people out or drop more people off."
"I think the most significant advantage is medical evacuation," he said.
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