NY Air Guard's 109th Airlift Wing conducting annual science support missions in Greenland

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109th Airlift Wing LC-130 conducts ski landings and takeoffs at Camp Raven in Greenland May 12th 2024

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SCOTIA, NEW YORK (05/28/2024) (readMedia)-- Four LC-130 "Skibirds" and 75 Airmen from the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing kicked off the annual Greenland season at the end of April to support National Science Foundation and their research efforts there.

The 109th flies the largest ski-equipped aircraft in the world which are capable of landing on snow and ice and conduct resupply missions for American scientific research in Antarctica when it is winter in New York and in Greenland during the summer months.

In 2023, the wing's Airmen carried 2.4 million pounds of cargo, 86,000 gallons of fuel and delivered 1300 passengers to science stations in Greenland. They flew a total of 721 hours.

The aircraft and Airmen are currently in the second of six rotations of 75 to 100 Airmen and four aircraft scheduled throughout the summer support season. The season is slated to end in August.

The Airmen fly from Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, near Schenectady, New York, to Kangerlussuaq International Airport in Greenland, which serves as their operating base.

This year, the main focus is training Airmen from the 109th and supporting ongoing construction at Summit Station which is operated by the National Science Foundation.

Summit Station is the only high altitude, high latitude, inland, year?round observing station in the Arctic.

"The Greenland season is a critical opportunity for us to support the National Science Foundation's efforts, particularly with the rebuilding of Summit Station," said Colonel Robert Donaldson, commander of the 109th Airlift Wing.

"Our Greenland deployments, which take us to some of the most austere polar environments on earth, also demonstrate the wing's power projection capabilities with the LC-130 and our remarkable Airmen making it happen," he said.

According to the National Science Foundation, Summit Station is especially important for monitoring the atmosphere and conducting astronomy and astrophysical science.

It is located at the apex of the Greenland ice sheet and is staffed in the winter by a team of five people.

The foundation has decided to rebuild the 30-year old station so it can be elevated above snow drifts on platforms that are easy to lift and level.

The new Summit Station will also be energy efficient and will incorporate renewable energy and autonomous systems where possible, according to the National Science Foundation.

"The LC-130 is the only aircraft capable of carrying such a substantial amount of cargo to these remote camps, thanks to its unique ski-equipped design. This capability is crucial for the rebuilding of Summit Station," Donaldson said.

"Our mission ready airmen are incredibly skilled and dedicated to navigating the challenging Arctic conditions to ensure mission success. Their expertise, commitment, and rock-solid warrior ethos are what make these complex operations possible," he said.

The 109th will also be conducting arctic survival training at a location known as Raven Camp. All members of the 109th who deploy to Antarctica and Greenland must attend this training.

The LC-130's flown by the 109th Airlift Wing are the largest aircraft in the world which can land on snow and ice using skies.

The unique capabilities of the ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft make it the only one of its kind in the U.S. military, able to land on snow and ice.

More photographs are available here: https://www.dvidshub.net/image/8423662/maintenance-and-operations-personnel-with-109th-airlift-wing-conduct-post-flgiht-checks-lc-130-skibird-kangerlussuaq