The team prepares the skiway at Woop Woop

Flying to work

Working as the station's plant operator in Antarctica is a great challenge. Every day brings a wide variety of tasks to help keep the station running smoothly! In a week at Davis you can be clearing snow with excavators, dozers and loaders one day, then moving sea containers of stores and equipment around station the next.

This week I was lucky enough to get a helicopter ride out to Woop Woop skiway, about 40 km from Davis station to assist the Aircraft Ground Support Officers or “AGSOs” in moving their sled mounted camp from its winter location on the ice plateau and digging out their snow groomers and other plant that had been buried by winter blizzards, to their summer camp location a few hundred metres away.

Next job was to start preparing a 1500 m by 50 m airstrip on the ice plateau using snow groomers, dragging a heavy steel I-Beam or “Drag Beam “ fitted out with cutting edges to flatten out the winter snow drifts on the ice. This was my first time operating groomers but the AGSOs are experts at building these ice airstrips and very helpful in showing me how to go about the work.

This was a great experience for me because later this winter I will be returning to Woop Woop by Hägglunds over the sea ice with a team from Davis to retrieve the snow groomers to station and prepare an airstrip on the sea ice for next season's incoming expeditioners.

Every day is an adventure!

Tim Colquhoun

Station plant operator, Davis station