Year-Round Antarctic Flights

C-17 crews are using night vision goggles to expand “Winfly” missions to more regularly resupply researchers at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, during the dark, winter months, officials announced. Using NVGs, “we have the ability to fly in and out year round,” logistics manager Michael Raabe said in a release. “We become more of a mature operation that can dictate, in essence, to the continent what we want to do,” he added. C-17’s landing at McMurdo previously had to switch on their landing lights to illuminate reflectors marking the runway. This forced aircrew to make straight-in landing approaches, which were impossible in cross-wind conditions. With more reliable, year-round flights the National Science Foundation can do construction projects and send researchers “to do shorter, more targeted research” even on the off-season, said 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron Operations Director Lt. Col. Keith McMinn. A C-17 deployed from JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., made the first NVG-assisted landing of the year at one of McMurdo’s ice runways on Aug. 23.