South Pole Station and LC-130 Aircraft

December 13, 2001


Provided by: National Science Foundation
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

The photo above shows the workhorse of Antarctica, the LC-130 Hercules aircraft, resupplying the South Pole Station. Eighty years ago tomorrow, on Friday December 14, 1911, Roald Amundsen and his expedition team became the first people, and perhaps the first life-forms, to reach the South Pole. Since 1957, the South Pole has been a US station for scientific research. It was named in honor of Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott for their feat of reaching the South Pole. Scott's team made it to the Pole several weeks after Amundsen, but they perished on the return trip to the coast. Amundsen used skis on his trek, which proved to be a wise decision. His team was able to maintain a faster pace than Scott's, who trudged through the ice and snow on foot for most of their journey. Note that the LC-130 aircraft also uses skis - Antarctica has no asphalt runways. The LC-130s only land at the South Pole between October and February, and they're flown by specially trained U.S. Navy and Air National Guard flight crews. From March through September, because of the fierce cold and continous darkness, it's too dangerous for aircraft to land at the South Pole.

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