A C-17 transport deployed to Christchurch, New Zealand, to shuttle researchers and advance supplies to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, ahead of the upcoming scientific research season. Flying into Antarctica during the winter flying season—known as WinFly—”is challenging because it is dark almost all day,” said Maj. Matt Armstrong, 62nd Operations Group executive officer from JB Lewis-McChord, Wash. During the Antarctic winter, aircrew use the C-17’s landing lights to illuminate reflectors marking McMurdo’s ice runway. “We have to adjust for crosswinds early and make a very straight approach,” explained Lt. Col. Brent Keenan, 62nd OG deputy commander. Otherwise, “we would not be able to see the runway,” he added. Shuttle flights over the next week allow National Science Foundation personnel to pre-stage the supplies necessary to take full advantage of the brief upcoming summer season. Crews began WinFly sorties on Aug. 20. Operation Deep Freeze, the US military’s airlift and sea-transport support of the NSF research, kicks off in September. (McChord report by SSgt. Sean Tobin)
Changes are coming this year for Airmen taking professional military education (PME) distance learning courses. Closer interactions with facilitators, a revised capstone course, and more feedback on test performance are meant to improve the overall experience for distance learning students, who often include members of the Air National Guard.