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Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 1992-93: VUWAE 37

Preparations for the Field

page 4

Preparations for the Field

Management for this event was carried out efficiently and generally smoothly by Scott Base staff. One unexpected change to the Helo plan was the replacement of two of our party (scientist and plant operator) were replaced by 2 Scott Base staff (operations manager and FTC leader)for their familiarisation of the area. Most of our event people are new each season and this helo reconnaissance provides a quick and reliable means for them to become familiar with the sea ice route and area of operation which I consider is vital for event operation and safety. If this familiarisation is also considered necessary for Scott Base staff then the helo time should be programmed as part of base operation and not be taken from the event allocation.

Ten days were required to prepare the scientific, field equipment and cargo train. This was about 3 days longer than planned and was caused by a combination of factors including first time assembly of the vibracorer at Scott Base and setting up of the Nodwell ice drill and winch in Antarctica. In future seasons the preparation period will be shortened to increase time on the sea ice. We are modifying our equipment to make it easier and faster to assemble in Antarctica but we will still require some help from the mechanics, engineers and plant operators during this period. Work could be identified by us and NZAP (technical services) that could be done prior to the event personnel arriving on the ice.

Some Scott Base equipment required work before being serviceable for the journey to Granite Harbour. The D5 required a new alternator, a Cantago sledge required rewelding the drawbar and the Nodwell ice drill needed commissioning and modifications. The Nodwell HIAB crane pressure relief was also increased to the design specifications. The Nodwell tasks were anticipated and did not cause significant delay.