Friday, October 1, 2010

Cold, cold, cold...

Today we finished getting the fuel pit set up with its buildings.  Fuel tanks come later.  Once power and heat are suppled the buildings will be ready to receive planes and people.  This was the second day we worked on this, and although yesterday was colder in absolute temperature (-83F), today was a much more difficult work environment because of the high winds.  Wind speed today during operations was 26 kt (~30 mph) and temperature was -66F.

Jason McDonald (front) and Mel MacMahon, Station Manager, discussing placement of buildings for the aircraft fueling pit. Notice the flags in the background - it was a bit windy, with blowing snow.  Ah, Spring at the South Pole!

This job took about 2.5 hours Friday and another 2 hours today.   Two hours outside in these conditions are pretty much a full work day.  Not because we couldn't do more, but the machines can't take it.  I was dressed in my most aggressive ECW setup and was fairly comfortable the entire time.    My clothing included long underwear tops and bottoms, pants, wind-proof pants, insulated windproof pants, two pairs of wool socks and four chemical toe warmers, insulated boots, long sleeved shirt, down parka, insulated glove liners, mittens, chemical hand warmers, chemical thumb warmers (toe warmers wrapped around my thumbs), full-head balaclava, fleece neck gator, fleece headband, and parka hood with fur ruff.  If I had it to do again I would have added a fleece pull-over, but I stayed fairly warm for the two hours we were outside.

Fuel Pit Convoy.  BARFF, Fuel Shack, and PAX Terminal, all being towed to their summer locations in preparation for the arrival of summer LC-130s.  These buildings and the aircraft fueling module and heating module placed yesterday constitute the fuel pit.  All that is left are three 5,000 and one 10,000 gallon fuel tanks.  They will be brought up Monday and then everything can be connected, heated, and powered.  Boyd Brown is in the front D6 dozer pulling the BARRF, Genevieve Ellison is in the middle loader pulling the fuel shack, and Virgil Porterfield is in the rear D6 pulling the PAX terminal.


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