This is our new Comms operator in training.
I spent this afternoon doing flight following for the McMurdo "Extended Season" flight, a single C-17 flight from Christchurch to bring in a few late arriving winter crew members and to take out 100 others who stayed beyond the usual station closing day in February. McMurdo's population has now gone from 216 to 122, if I'm doing the math correctly, which will be their official winter population.
We won't see any planes until October but they'll get more C-17 flights in August during "Winfly" where a series of usually 3 flights are scheduled to bring in more people and take out a few. This is the first year that they've done a "reverse Winfly".
Today's flight was of interest to me because it was supposed to bring in Southern Hemisphere flu vaccine which will be stored at McMurdo hospital with the plan of immunizing their winter crew a few weeks before Winfly germs arrive. And when we have our first flight, 60 doses will be sent to us so that we can do the same with our crew. I see on the flight manifest that they also received 14,365 pounds of freshies and 3005 pounds of mail...we're on the last salvagable pieces of fresh fruit but still have plenty of onions and potatoes and such. I just can't imagine that 122 people will be able to eat all of that fresh produce before it goes bad.