End of the road for Polar Pumpkin

Published on 18.05.2011 - Polar Flight 90

The rugged big sky topography of the North Dakota Badlands.

The rugged big sky topography of the North Dakota Badlands.

© Art Mortvedt

After a long return flight from Eureka, Art Mortvedt has finally stationned his Polar Pumpkin in a hangar of the city of Macom, Illinois. Now, back to the peace running of his Selby Wilderness Lodge.

Now that the Cessna 180 is well and safe in a hangar of Macomb Municipal Airport in Illinois, it's time for Art Mortvedt to make a final analysis of his failed attempt to fly over the North Pole with his Polar Pumpkin.

Here are some excerpts of one of his last update (10 May) : "... The Polar Pumpkin has served me well - carrying me safely nearly 5,000 miles from Fairbanks, Alaska through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago to Eureka Weather Station -80 degrees North/86 degrees West. And then on south along the west shore of Hudson Bay to North Dakota, South Dakota, and Illinois.  The aircraft is now tucked away safely in a hangar; and can take a well deserved rest, while I fly with the airlines back to Alaska to operate the Peace of Selby Wilderness Lodge over the summer. ..."

The old Chevrolet Art bought 44 years ago...

The old Chevrolet Art bought 44 years ago...

© Art Mortvedt

"... The Pumpkin and I may make a short visit to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for Airventure 2011, during latter July and early August.  Preparations are already underway to Point the Pumpkin North next April, for a second attempt to land the aircraft at the Geographic North Pole. ..."

"... Polar Flight 90 has learned a great deal in its first attempt at the Pole - regarding aircraft performance, weather, topography, inter island sea ice status, Inuit communities, polar science, and much else.  Microbial samples have been collected for the University of Innsbruck, improvements must be made in cold weather operations of the hyperspectral imager, and aircraft video camera mount locations must change in order to minimize the impacts of cold on battery longevity. "

"... One aspect of Polar Flight 90, that will never change, is my sincere gratitude for those folks and institutions supporting the expedition -in whatever manner possible- financial, an encouraging word, a smiling face, a warm thought. As a team, we have accomplished much, thus far.  If you believe in the goals of Polar Flight 90 ...and wish to 'hang in there' with me ..."

Do not forget to visit the last pages of Art's blog, they are as interesting and fascinating as before -Vermilion, the city where he was born, the long farming and ranching history of North Dakota, where one can still find the evidence of encampments of indian villages, the North Dakota Badlands where he one bought an old Chevrolet Biscayne 4 door 44 years ago, the Theodor Roosevelt National Park,  the topography transitions to mixed bush-taiga and farm-land located south of Swan River, Manitoba, etc.

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