Sea Ice Runway, Antarctica
You might be surprised to discover that there are airports in places as remote as Antarctica. This extreme environment has one of the world’s lowest temperatures. Close to McMurdo Station, it’s used by scientists and as a US military base.
Anybody used to tarmac runways may get a shock here, as the runway is made entirely of ice. Finding an area of flat land in Antarctica is near impossible, so the frozen sea ice is used instead. It has to be abandoned in warmer months when the ice begins to weaken. Antarctica has 6 months of 24-hour darkness during the winter and because there are no lights here, pilots are trained to land totally blind.
Only highly trained military pilots land here, so thankfully the Sea Ice Runway hasn’t seen many accidents despite its dangers. However, an exception to this was when, in 1960, a United States Navy crashed while attempting to land on the ice. The men on board were injured, but luckily nobody was killed. The aircraft skidded into the water and was allowed to sink. It remains there to this day.
Continue Reading This Article