Airfield Master Plan for McMurdo Station, Antarctica

McMurdo Station, a research and support facility operated by the National Science Foundation, is located on Ross Island, immediately adjacent to mainland Antarctica. The station requires aircraft to move people and cargo between Christchurch, New Zealand, and McMurdo Station during the normal operating season of early September through late February. In addition, aircraft deliver people and cargo to the South Pole Station and field camps throughout the continent. Historically, air service has been primarily provided by US military aircraft using three different runway surfaces (sea ice, snow, and glacial ice) at 3 different geographic locations on the frozen Ross Sea or the adjacent Ross Ice Shelf. In 2011, an effort was undertaken to develop an airfield master plan for consolidating all aircraft operations into one location. The master planning effort included several major components to be optimized: runway and skiway headings, aircraft parking aprons, refueling point aprons, supporting town site location, navigational aids (NAVAIDs), and air traffic control tower. Although these components are part of most traditional airfield master plans, the unusual location and environmental factors made the development process unique and challenging, such as snow drifting, storm wind vs. prevailing wind operations, and snow contamination from aircraft engine soot. After extensive coordination and reviews with stakeholders, a recommended optimized airfield master plan layout was created for operating a single airfield complex at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The surface area to be groomed was reduced approximately 8% as compared to the existing layout while providing more capability.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 836-845
  • Monograph Title: T&DI Congress 2014: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01528744
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780784413586
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Jun 2 2014 3:01PM