(ORDO NEWS) — The 190-ton Airbus A340 has successfully landed on an icy runway in Antarctica.
For the first time in history, an Airbus commercial aircraft successfully landed on the white continent of Antarctica. One of the company’s A340s landed on the icy runway earlier this month, clearing the way for tourism on the frozen land.
The A340 took off on the morning of November 2 from Cape Town, South Africa, and then flew 4,630 km to Antarctica.
He became the first in aviation to successfully land on a runway made of “blue ice”, aircraft pilot Captain Carlos Mirpuri said.
The historic flight was operated by Hi Fly and chartered by Wolf’s Gang, according to CNN. The plane will be used this season to transport a small number of tourists, scientists and cargo to the icy continent.
As the 190-ton aircraft approached the airstrip in Antarctica, “alert and alert” reigned in the cockpit. Captain Mirpuri described in detail how special grooves had to be cut on the runway in order to provide the greatest friction when landing the aircraft, which would otherwise slip off the icy course due to heavy cargo.
Due to the bright light, the pilots had to wear special eye protection, emanating from the polar ice.
“The mixing of the runway with the surrounding terrain and the vast white desert around it makes it difficult to estimate the altitude, to put it mildly,” the captain said.
Fortunately, Mirpuri and the rest of the A340 crew managed to land safely, and it took them less than three hours to deliver the entire cargo.
There is still no real airport in Antarctica. There are only 50 runways on the icy continent, and pilots must evaluate and take into account many factors when landing, from slippery surfaces to the weight of the aircraft.
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