After an action packed week of making our final preparations we drove down to Stratton Air Base in Schenectady, NY late on Thursday night, hoping to catch a couple hours sleep before heading onto the base at 5:45 AM. A few minor mechanical delays later and we were airborne on a Air National Guard LC-130 Hercules bound for Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.
At a quick stop in Goose Bay, Newfoundland for fuel, we got to spend a few minutes in the lounge, clearly intended for a more refined clientele, based on the cushy leather couches and private jet magazines offering aircraft for modest sum’s in the ‘low millions’. Free ice cream though made the stop a real highlight for the science team and a poster back at the Guard base appeared to be appropriate commentary on the differences between LC-130 travel and that on a Gulfstream. High comfort or not, the plane did its job of delivering us safely and sleep was forthcoming for all!
By some luck Mike and Chris landed on either side of one of the very few windows in the plane. Some amazing scenery out the window during the last hour of the flight included broken up sea ice (Chris’s other research passion) and the sunken mountain ranges, deep fjords, and snow covered peaks along the Greenland coast.
Now we’re in Kangerlussuaq and will be spending the next day or so getting additional gear like satellite phones, modems, fuel cans, and snow machine parts being supplied by Polar Field Services checked out before we head up to Summit camp on top of the ice sheet.