‘Smooth landing on the blue ice’: watch a plane take off from an Antarctic airstrip

Cathy Adams
·2-min read
 (Norwegian Polar Institute)
(Norwegian Polar Institute)

The Norwegian Polar Institute has released footage of a passenger plane taking off from a blue-ice runway in Antarctica.

The Icelandair jet was chartered to bring home 30 Norwegian researchers working at the Troll Research Station in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica.

The Boeing 767 jet landed in Antarctica on 26 February after flying from Keflavik airport in Iceland, with a stopover in Cape Town. It has now landed safely back in Iceland.

From start to finish, the journey was more than 20,000 miles.

The video shows the plane preparing for take-off from the Troll Airfield in Antarctica, one of five airstrips in the southernmost continent.

The one-minute video, released on Twitter, begins by showing the jet parked on the blue-ice runway, surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

Footage then shows passengers and crew boarding the plane and preparing for take-off.

When everyone’s onboard, the video shows the jet ascend into the air and fly gracefully across Antarctica’s majestic white mountainous landscapes.

In a tweet, Icelandair said: “This involved a lot of planning due to the unique conditions (e.g. a landing strip on ice).”

A logbook from co-pilot Bjartmar Örn Arnarson, published by Icelandair, said: “The Norwegians have built a runway on the blue ice that is special because of its strength and structural nature. It has been beaten down with constant hurricane-force wind that has squeezed the air bubbles out of the ice, and it appears deep blue.

“And because of its solidness it can hold a massive airplane as the B767 and is really smooth.”

On the landing into Antarctica, he said: “Flying downwind we visually located the runway and made a great smooth landing on the blue ice.”

Troll Research Station, around 235km from the coast, undertakes biological, glaciological and geological field work in the summer, as well as year-round monitoring of meteorology and radiation.

Some of the scientists working at Troll had been there for more than 16 months, said Icelandair.

Read More

Antarctica no longer Covid-free after 36 people test positive

Icebreaker leaves Australia after 150 Antarctica trips