Tuesday afternoon, heading into work, the drive takes me past the airport. I always glance in the direction of the US Antarctic Op. hangars to see what’s there. Usually a C17 Globemaster or an occasional C 130 Hercules. Last week the NASA DC 8 was visible.
But Tuesday? “Holy Crap!” I muttered, reached for my camera….curses! Left it at home again. I count two C17s and six C 130-Ts (The USAF ones with distinctive orange tail), and a big grey tail fin I didn’t recognise. That evening I ID’d it as an RNZAF 757-200, used for shuttling scientists and dignitaries around in comfort.
Yesterday, Wednesday 22 Feb, I was armed and ready. Took the right turn around the back road to airport, straight past the front fence of the base, parked up in the Antarctic Centre (public tourist attraction), and sprinted back up the road.
The two C17s were gone, but everything else was there, so I started snapping pics. As I approached the security gate and stood in the driveway trying to get a good shot, the security guard came out. He wasn’t smiling. I casually start wandering the other way, and see another dayglo vest and security tag emerge from a hangar and begin striding purposefully in my direction (see third pic. pic below). I grin and wave innocently, and back away to the other side of the road. The fun’s over and I’m late for work.
My supervisor asks what the holdup was? “Oh, just nearly got arrested by the USAF” I say casually. “Oh, nothing unusual for you then” he says shaking his head slowly.
It’s nearly end of the summer at the Ice, and these C130s are probably migrating northwards. Maybe they will investigate the nuclear incident that just happened in the Arctic?
Enjoy the pics guys!