30 January 2013
RNZAF aircraft technician Corporal Craig Moore of Dunedin at Pegasus Air Field in Antarctica.
Maintaining aircraft on an air field in the sub zero cold of Antarctica has been a new challenge for Dunedin born RNZAF Corporal (CPL) Craig Moore.
CPL Moore (27) attended Otago Boys High School, joined the Air Force in 2005 and normally is based at Whenuapai Air Base working for 40 Squadron as an aircraft technician. A normal day involves conducting flight line work on C130 Hercules and Boeing 757 aircraft.
CPL Moore recently spent time in the Antarctic working for the New York Air National Guard (NYANG) servicing the Hercules aircraft that fly in and out of Pegasus Air Field, which services Scott Base and McMurdo Station.
The RNZAF have an ongoing agreement between with the NYANG that has been in place for three years. This year the RNZAF will second ten staff for a two week period between 2 December and 30 January to work as part of a maintenance crew working on the US LC130 aircraft.
CPL Moore arrived in Antarctica on Sunday 6 January and flew out on Saturday 19 January.
The RNZAF personnel working at Pegasus stay at the US base at McMurdo Station and work 10-12 hour shifts, with Craig covering the night shift.
CPL Moore said, "A typical day involved an 11.30pm start at McMurdo and what could be up to a 2 1/2 hour bumpy trip out over the sea ice to the air strip. On arrival we would work out what planes needed to be prepared for the next flights, while also seeing in any arriving aircraft. Tasks involved, after flight inspections, connecting heater carts to the airframe and engines, flight control checks, marshalling the plane over to the pits for refuelling and setting up the Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO) equipment."
"The Hercs here are pretty much the same as what we have in New Zealand except that they use skis to land.
"It can be pretty cold out here working on the ice, some days are nice but others you can be working with a wind chill of -20 which presents its own challenge."
The RNZAF personnel work with the NYANG flight line crew of six personnel. The augmentee program between the RNZAF and NYANG is an attractive opportunity sought after by 40 Squadron personnel.
"It’s been a great opportunity to work with another military and I’d jump at the chance to go to the ice again," CPL Moore said.
After his shift ended CPL Moore managed to fit in seeing some of the sights around Scott Base including Observation Hill and Scotts Hut.
The NZ Defence Force provides a wide range of support for Antarctic New Zealand including support staff at Scott Base, personnel to conduct facilities maintenance, air craft technicians and personnel to assist with the annual ship offload. Around 200 Defence Force personnel will support the mission at various stages during the season.
For more information, contact Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980.