Early in November, an Airbus A340 passenger plane weighing 190 tons became the first of its kind to land in the continent of Antarctica on a runway made out of ice. While the flight took place on November 2, the information about the landmark aviation feat was not in public domain until now. The news broke after the log of the aircraft captain with details of the flight was released.
On November 2, the A340 aircraft that flew from Cape Town International Airport in South Africa landed on Antarctica’s Wolf’s Fang Runway, an airstrip made from blue glacial ice. After the successful, record-setting landing, the A340 aircraft will be used to ferry cargo and passengers like scientists and tourists to Antarctica next summer.
This was the first landing for the Airbus A340, a large passenger aircraft, in the white continent. The aircraft became one of the heaviest planes to land in Antarctica with a maximum take-off weight of 275 tons. The flight was operated by an aircraft leasing company caller Hi Fly from Lisbon in Portugal. A video of the flight was shared by the operator on YouTube which also showed the moments of landing from inside the cockpit. Antarctica’s Wolf Fang Runway has a length of 3kms and width of 60 metres. The layer of hard, air-free ice that makes up the runway is 1.4 kilometres deep.
Check out the video here:
As per flight-tracking service RadarBox.com, the operator flew the Airbus A340 to Antarctica two times on November 1 and November 4 from Cape Town. The flight reportedly had 23 passengers on board. The commander of the Airbus plane was Carlos Mirpuri who is also vice-president at Hi Fly. The 4,630 kilometre-flight was completed in 5 hours.