A tradies trip to Wilkins, a lesson in fuels and a look at Casey in miniature are all featured in this week at Casey.

Trades express to Wilkins Aerodrome

Wilkins Aerodrome is a self-supporting community of dedicated people operating the Antarctic flight program over summer by creating a blue ice runway of sufficient quality to land a passenger jet on. Wilkins infrastructure comprises several buildings mounted on sleds that are towed into place each season providing the necessary accommodation to support living and working in this remote location. Casey station provides trades to Wilkins mostly over summer to support and maintain the infrastructure and to make improvements as required.
This year’s programme undertaken by the infrastructure team was to complete several important projects between flights. Tasks included installing a fire escape stair and exit to the new Living Quarters (LQ) building, a new cold porch to the Sleeping Quarters, a toilet exhaust system in the LQ and ventilation system. The ambitious program also allowed for various repairs to buildings, maintenance and electrical inspections and installations.

With two plumbers, two carpenters and an electrician aboard, the tradie express (a Hagg with roof racks) left Casey for the trek to Wilkins for a four day working blitz. It is a credit to the professionalism and dedication of the trades team and the assistance of the Wilkins crew that all work was completed in the four days allowed without any issues. Their quest was made a little easier due to the hospitality of the Wilkins team and the fine food served up by Kim the chef. My thanks goes to my crew consisting of Joe A, Scott C, Dan J, Michael B and Vas (B3) for making this happen in such a tight time-frame.

Joe Briguglio

All about fuels

Lesson 1 — Aviation fuel drums

Aircraft Ground Support Officers (AGSOs) know their drums! And it’s all about colours and numbers.
Jet A-1, aviation turbine kerosene, or ATK, is the fuel used for aviation at Australian stations. It is used in helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

Each season, a new shipment of fuel is delivered to stations, primarily Casey and Davis. How much?
That varies, but usually in the range of 600–800 drums, each drum holding 205 litres. Why 205 and not 200? I don’t know!  Drums are transported in ‘half heights’; 39 drums fit in a half height, if loaded properly!

So each year, the fuel is put in drums of a specific colour. The drum colour tells us how old the fuel is. The drum colour is important because batch and filling date details painted on the top of the drop are often worn off by weather in a few months.

The filling date drum colours are:

2013 Green with a Black band
2012 Green
2011 Brown
2010 Pink
2009 Blue
2008 Orange
2007 Yellow

Australian Antarctic Division normally provides fuel that is three years old or newer. Aircraft contractors might still test, accept and use older fuel; that’s their decision. So now, when you see photos of coloured fuel drums you know nearly all there is to know. Fuels ain’t just fuels!

Lesson 2 will be about the life of a fuel drum; stay tuned!


Casey in miniature

Photographer Rory has provided a selection of macro photos from his collection for this week’s photo gallery.