Premiere: Boeing 737 MAX 8 Smartwings flew to Antarctica!

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Low cost airline smartwings flew with Boeing 737 MAX 8 in Antarctica, a first for this single-aisle model.

The plane landed on January 26, 2022 at Troll airfield, at the northern tip of Antarctica, marking a premiere for this type of aircraft and for Smartwings. The flight was chartered by Aircontact to transport members of the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) to their base in Antarctica.

Smartwings 737-8 (OK-SWB, delivered in March 2018) took off from Oslo to the airport Cape Town from South Africa, via N'Djamena in Chad. From Cape Town, the plane continued to Antarctica. The flight lasted 6 hours. The plane stopped in Antarctica for 2 hours before leaving for the return flight.

Landing on the ice required a specially trained crew of 3 experienced captains - Tomáš Nevole, Jan Šťastný and Lubomír Malík.

"You need to be well prepared for such a flight. Preparations lasted several months, and the flight and landing went smoothly"Explains flight director Tomáš Nevole.

Track of 3.000 m and cover with ice it was built on a glacier at an altitude of 1.232 meters. It is used for landing and take-off, the thickness of the ice being measured and analyzed for a possible suspension of the operation.

"The surface was specially prepared and the braking distance was measured by the Norwegian Polar Institute before the operation, to allow take-off and landing in accordance with the regulations and standards of aircraft manufacturers, while maintaining all safety margins.

For such missions, the pilots had to undergo special training to get acquainted with the area and the runway. All crew members underwent survival training in Antarctic conditions. The aircraft was equipped with survival kits for polar conditions, including polar clothing for the crew, in addition to the essential spare parts that were carried on board.

Troll Research Station is located 235 kilometers east of Princess Martha's Coast, on the eastern side of Antarctica's Maud Dronning Land. Led by the Norwegian Polar Institute, the station is dedicated to environmental and climate monitoring, scientific research and mapping.

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