For a plucky band of specialist expeditioners, it’s almost the end of their Antarctic adventure.
MATT RYAN: "Antarctica is a very harsh continent… it’s certainly not for everyone. (thumbs up, BBQ roast shot)
70 kilometres inland from Casey research station, Australia’s Wilkins Aerodrome is ready for summer.
MR: "Hi I’m Matt Ryan. I’m the 2020 Wilkins Aerodrome Manager."
For the last few months, the small Aerodrome team has been waking Wilkins up from winter.
One piece at a time in the most challenging of circumstances.
(SOUNDUP – “alright we’ll miss you”)
MR: "Been a busy and challenging start-up this year, with plenty of blizzards and inclement weather to keep us occupied."
CHARLTON CLARK, General Manager of Operations and Safety: "At the start of each season we have a small team in Antarctica that have to undertake a Herculean task of clearing three kilometres of an ice runway in temperatures down to minus 25, winds of up to 200 kilometres an hour, that batter the team for months on end."
But persistence pays off.
And bit by bit, the Wilkins team has reclaimed the runway from the glacier’s surface.
MR: "We’ve got to clear the snow off the runway surface, proof-roll, survey, mark out. Not a small task, living and working in a remote field camp."
(SOUNDUP proof-rolling at dawn)
The blue ice runway needs to be strong enough to land an Airbus A319 or a RAAF cargo plane.
Over the last few weeks the surface has been finessed and fine-tuned.
Now, after months of hard work, it’s all set for landing.
MR: "My team’s done a fantastic job, my guys have all looked out for one another and looked after one another. Looking forward to seeing an aircraft on the ground shortly."
Runway-ready for another busy Antarctic season ahead.