A snow runway for supporting wheeled aircraft : Phoenix Airfield, McMurdo, Antarctica
Haehnel, Robert B.; Blaisdell, George L.; Melendy, Terry D.; Shoop, Sally A. (Sally Annette); Courville, Zoe R.
Historically, there has been a system of as many as three airfields operated at McMurdo, Antarctica, to transport cargo and personnel to and from the continent via ski-equipped and wheeled aircraft. Owing to the runways’ being founded on snow and ice, there is a constant need to adapt the air-field system to accommodate changing environmental conditions while still meeting program needs. This report provides an overview of the im-plementation of a new airfield to support landing wheeled aircraft that replaces the Pegasus Airfield that was founded on the superimposed glacial ice layer on the McMurdo Ice Shelf in the McMurdo Sound. The new airfield is located approximately 5 km (3 miles) east and up shelf from the former Pegasus Airfield and is the first runway constructed on compacted snow that supports a wheeled aircraft as large as a C-17. Herein we document the design, construction, and commissioning of the new air-field. Also provided in this report are recommendations for maintenance and monitoring to prolong the life of the airfield and to determine when operations need to be suspended due to warm weather.
Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
EPOLAR; McMurdo Station (Antarctica); McMurdo Ice Shelf (Antarctica); Runways (Aeronautics)--Design and construction; NSF; Runways (Aeronautics)--Snow and ice control; Snow pavement; Snow runways
Technical Report (Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)) ; no. ERDC/CRREL TR-19-4
Approved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited