Spectacular landing to test capabilities of Airbus’s advanced landing gear in challenging terrain saw plane touch down on snow at McMurdo station
Watch Airbus A340 land in Antarctica for the first time
A large Airbus A340 has taken a groundbreaking approach to landing at Antarctica’s McMurdo Station after the pilot allegedly stripped the runway of snow.
The test landing, which was filmed, went down as the veteran French-made airbus was flying over the Chilmark Peninsula when it was forced to conduct the dramatic manoeuvre.
The flight engineer of the A340, Emmanuel Lanouvel, reportedly asked for the runway to be “retrofitted”.
The A340 flying to McMurdo station. Photograph: Ushuaia airport/Handout/Reuters
The airside airstrip, which was built with the help of the UK Antarctic programme and Germany, has proved to be very challenging.
The A340 made its initial approach using the runway and then had to dodge and counter-clockwise steer around a snowflake.
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Reports from the flight operations centre said: “The runway was retreaded in the direction the airplane needed to fly in to reach McMurdo station, after which the aircraft landed safely.”
More than 800 Nasa scientists and visitors live at McMurdo station in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.
The airside landing landed the first Airbus A340 in Antarctica at Maralinga, near Adelaide, in 2008.