Bardout : The flight plan for picking up his team

Published on 10.05.2010 - Under the Pole.com

The pilots at Kenn Borek Air Ltd have finally decided on the way they will go about picking up the eight men from Ghislain Bardout's expedition team and all their diving equipment.

The flight plan devised by the pilots at Kenn Borek Air Ltd is designed to pick up the exploration team and its equipment from the Deep Sea Under The Pole.com expedition. First of all, though, here's a run-down of the difficulties facing the pilots, as we detailed in our previous update:

  1. The expedition's equipment is heavy, to say the least, and a DC3 is the only aircraft capable of collecting it and carrying it back all in one go. Unfortunately, there's a major risk involved in landing on ice that is far from dependable.
  2. The company's Twin Otters, which are the only alternative solution, are limited in terms of range.
  3. This means they would have to establish fuel dumps along the way. However -and again because the condition of the ice is so disjointed at the moment- these dumps now can't be set up on the pack-ice and instead have to be on solid ground.

"The flight plan has had to be changed a bit, both for logistical and practical reasons: a Twin Otter will leave Resolute the day before the collection looks likely to be made so that it can be in position at Eureka on the day of the pick-up itself. The following morning, a DC3 will take off from Resolute carrying kerosene to refuel the Twin Otter on the northern tip of Ellesmere. The Twin Otter will then fly out to collect half of the team and its equipment, come back to the refuelling location and transfer its cargo to the DC3. Once it has been refuelled with kerosene, the Twin Otter will then be able to fly off again to pick up the other half of the team and transfer men and equipment into the DC3 (which can carry the entire expedition and all its gear without any problem). If all goes well, the DC3 will then fly back to Resolute the same evening and its happy passengers will appreciate the fact that they have completed the first stage of their journey back to civilisation."

The latest reports say that a Twin Otter left Resolute on Saturday evening on its way to Eureka. Once it gets there, it will then have to wait for a favourable break in the weather. Eureka is about five hours' flying time from where Bardout's team is currently waiting for them.

Meanwhile, the men on the diving expedition are making the most of their final hours on the ice to complete a few more dives. In all, they will have made 50 dives and reached a maximum depth of 35 metres. Up until Saturday, they had been out on the sea-ice for 44 days, having covered a distance of 166 kilometres since being dropped off in the vicinity of the North Pole. They are currently 231 kilometres from the Pole itself.

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