Hard-Surface Runways in Antarctica
COLD REGIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING LAB HANOVER NH
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The feasibility of constructing and maintaining hard-surface snow runways at McMurdo Sound and the South Pole was studied. Existing technology was reviewed, and proposals for novel techniques and machines were put forward. It was concluded that all-season operation of heavy wheeled aircraft from snow runways is not a practical proposition for the short term. Other possibilities for all-season operation of wheeled aircraft were considered. These included a a conventional runway of rock-fill and gravel, b rock-fill and gravel over permanent ice, c a runway on coastal glacier ice, d runways on bare glacier ice at inland locations. Rough cost estimates were made for each of the runway types that were considered. After examining the trends in Antarctic aviation, the following recommendations were offered 1 develop a construction plan for a conventional runway at Marble Point, 2 proceed with site selection, equipment design, and development of ground transport for a wheel runway on the Ross Ice Shelf, 3 search for natural blue ice airfields at inland locations, especially locations that are not too far from the South Pole.
- Terminal Flight Facilities