Airplanes land almost every day at the South Pole. Most of the time, they’re LC-130’s, however we also have our share of DC-3 and Twin Otters as well. In support of airfield operations, the South Pole Fire Station #3 maintains a constant state of readyness whenever a plane is taking off or landing.
The other day I was shown by a few of our firemen how they monitor the airfield, and stay ready for anything out there. Since the runway is made of ice, they must be able to get to the scene of any incident reliably and with all the equiptment they need. For this, they have Elephant Man.
Once a traverse test vehicle, this burly tractor-transport-hybrid now supports the fire crew, and serves to tow their fire fighting gear out to the Skiway, where the planes land. A few photos:
Elephant Man is the tractor in the front, and the two sleds contain a pressurized firefighting system, as well as other gear. The fire crew uses both a dry chemical and foam.
Walking out from Destination Alpha (the main station entrance) to the skiway (Airfield)
The view from Elephant Man as a LC-130 Hercules lands.
Driving Elephant Man – this thing is a beast!