Opening Flight

Bad weather at McMurdo and cold temperatures at Pole kept the airplanes away until early morning our time on 11/3 when the comms department finally got some airplane business. Some of us gathered in comms waiting for the C-130 to take off so Jerry could make the all-call announcement we had not heard in 9 months. Here is what it sounded like (slightly censored)...

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final approach

Three hours later there it was--barely visible in the air to the left of the flag.

the Herc at marker 7

Past marker 7, making the turn...




Taxiing...(this photo and the next one are from Tadashi Yogi)

winterovers watching the opening flight land

Here we are standing there watching it. You might think that our chef Denis (in apron) is looking down at his phone (er, this was 1977?!) but he's carefully fondling wrapped breakfast foods for the flight crew (this flight showed up around 0630). An hour later we winterovers were enjoying a breakfast featuring fresh eggs and chatting with the new arrivals.

we are waiting for the first new folks since February

More of us watching it.

me waiting to direct the aircraft

Here's Bill Spindler waiting to park the aircraft.

Parking the plane

It was my job to park most of the airplanes (except for some of the fuel flights) and meet the passengers. This was the first time I was doing this in 9 months, and our winter world was about to come to an end. At this moment I looked at the airplane and then over at the rest of us standing by the taxiway. This was one of the strangest and strongest emotional moments of my life, one which I will never forget. In New Orleans in 1999 as I looked at this photo and originally typed these words, I still feel the emotional impact. Suddenly I had an almost irresistible urge to take off running. If only I could get around behind skylab so I couldn't see the airplane, it would disappear and our "normal" lives would continue. Hmmm. Toast, anyone?

My flight out

A few days later it was my turn to leave on this one.

Baggage sled

Here's Bill Koleto with the sled with our carry-on baggage.

our last look at our home for the last 12 months

The flight crew granted us winterovers a photo pass...our last
look at what had been our world for many months. Outta here!

The Old Pole aurora tower and in the background the domed station skylab aka the new aurora tower

A last view of the station on our flight the foreground is the aurora tower of Old Pole which of course we is surrounded by several of the station emergency escape hatches which can be seen in this photo. We are looking northeast...remember that the the original Pole skiway was to the west of the original station...below the bottom of this photo.