Hi Fly operated the first flight to Antarctica: for the first time, an Airbus A340 landed on the great white continent! (photo / video)
On November 2, 2021, Hi Fly wrote a page in the history of aviation, flying for the first time with an Airbus A340 in Antarctica. Captain Carlos Mirpuri and his crew flew this wide-body plane from Cape Town to Antarctica and back. The distance of about 5000 kilometers was covered in about five hours.
In the history of aviation, until now, an A340 has never landed on an ice rink in Antarctica. The Hi Fly 9H-SOL A340-313HGW aircraft was used to transport a small number of tourists along with scientists and essential goods to the White Continent. There were 23 people on board the plane. For round-trip flights, the plane was refueled with 77 tons of fuel.
Airbus A340-300 is a reliable, comfortable aircraft that can function well in these extreme conditions. The 4 engines also make it ideal for such missions.
A flight to Antarctica is not as simple as it seems. Communication is difficult, without digitized data. At the destination there is no control tower, but only a person equipped with a radio station and who takes care of the ice rink. Meteorologists do a great job and land in Antarctica only when the weather meets the flight requirements. But a forecast is a forecast, and when flying to the end of the world, pilots need real-time weather communication.
The runway in Antarctica is 3000 meters long, which means it could be enough to land and take off large planes. The ice is 1.4 kilometers thick, being extremely hard. However, for a suitable braking index, some grooves are made with special equipment.
The plane was on the ground less than the planned 3 hours. Thanks to the very good weather conditions, the ground crews and those responsible for the flight moved very well and facilitated the takeoff of the plane earlier. All's well that ends well.