Danny Phillips, better known as The Red Rocket, kindly agreed to an interview even though he has an extremely busy schedule here at Davis. I found him doing a bit of crane work in the lounge area during lunch…even on a break this guy never puts down the tools.
What is your position here at Davis Station?
I’m a plant operator and field assistant with the Year Round Aviation Access project. I have held this position for two years and have done six previous seasons in Antarctica as a plant operator.
What are three of your favourite things about working in Antarctica?
The variety of professional minds that gather here, the chefs’ skills and abilities, and the remote field huts that are positioned in really interesting places.
What is your favourite place in Antarctica?
Room 49 in the SMQ was a pretty good place to live…had magic views…but maybe not quite as good as my trip to Beaver Lake in a helicopter to retrieve fuel drums…then flying home in a Twin Otter fixed wing. That was in my first trip to Antarctica back in 2011/12!
What is your single-most favourite memory so far?
Leaning over the bow of the Aurora Australis while it was breaking through sea ice.
Now…crane operations are serious business. Did you build this Lego crane yourself?
Yes I did.
How long did the build take?
You must be a pro because it says 8 to 14 years on the box yet you managed it in three days?
I have excelled. I started playing with Lego when I was around six years old and when I turned thirty I moved into Lego building big time. Technic and trains, I have 12 different trains, more trains coming and a loader. I love the detail and the precision of the manuals and I enjoy the time building the machines and outcome. All my trains are at a mate’s place in Kinglake. John S is giving them the occasional run for me. I just purchased a new train last night. Lucky number thirteen.
If you were Station Leader for a single day what would you encourage?
I would like to teach people about all the amazing history behind Australian expeditioners in Antarctica and our four research stations: Mawson, Casey, Davis and Macquarie Island. There are some incredible stories.
You are also a very skilled mini-bike rider and frequent wearer of a snug polar bear suit. Did it take long to perfect your skills on the mini-bike?
Two days….wearing the suit helps with streamlining my rides.
Please describe yourself in three words.
Friendly, helpful and inventive.
What is the single best thing about being a ranga?
The camaraderie I have with every other ranga on the planet, just knowing that I am special warms my heart.