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Operation Deep Freeze

This week we head away from mainland New Zealand and join the last few weeks of the McMurdo Antarctica season.

United States civilian and scientific operations on the Antarctic continent are overseen by the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) as well as the National Science Foundation. Military support missions flown from Christchurch International Airport are conducted during the Antarctic summer (late September to early March) each year by USAF C-17 Globemaster III aircraft of the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command (AMC). After the C-17 arrives and is unloaded, LC-130 Hercules aircraft provide the logistical movement of cargo to remote operating locations on the continent. These aircraft are augmented by the United States Coast Guard icebreakers, the Air Force Materiel Command, and the Military Sealift Command. The United States Air Force 13th Air Expeditionary Group (AEG) deploys to Christchurch, New Zealand during the operational season.

Flights generally take from 4 hours in a C-17 Globemaster to 7 hours in a C-130 Hercules. Because of this, the event start time has been brought forward to 4pm (NZDT - 03:00z) to allow C-130 aircraft to make the entire journey during the event time. If you are unable to make it at that time, consider taking a faster aircraft and leaving later - a 6pm departure in a C-17 would allow for the flight to be completed during the event time and a 1hr reserve for any delays due to traffic.

Your are invited to take any aircraft you wish. If you are after realism, then a C-17 or a C-130 aircraft are the most common on the route.

Any ATC that are available from 4pm, please book your position on Vroute to register your interest and to show the pilots that there will be ATC available.


NZCH Christchurch, New Zealand

NZWD Williams Field, Antarctica


 CallsignRadio NameFrequencyFreq
FSSNZCM_FSSMcMurdo Radio128.700
CTRNZCH-S_CTRChristchurch Control129.300
APPNZCH_APPChristchurch Approach126.100
TWRNZCH_TWRChristchurch Tower118.400
 NZWD_TWRWilliams Field Tower126.200