Virus AR Antarctique

Pour suivre le vol: . Le compte rendu en anglais de la “ballade” en Antarctique qui figure en fin de ce billet démontre que les conditions météo ne sont pas vraiment faciles dans cette région.

After leaving Ushuaia yesterday Matevž had an incredible opportunity to fly to the »very bottom of the world«.

He took off in Ushuaia in South Argentina and after about 5 hours he landed in Antarctica at the airport Teniente Rodolfo Marsh Martin.

Today, after mandatory refueling, he took off again and flew towards continent to Punta Arenas (Chile) , where he successfully landed after about 7 hours of flying! ( avec un vent de NW de 30 nœuds )


Antartictique-Puntas Arenas (Chili)

19.02.2012 by Matevž
Last three days were really demanding as the future was always a bit uncertain and dependent of weather models and actual weather conditions. But with a great help of GLWF team especially Domen who devoted his 24 h a day to the flight and Jonathan Selby and Roxanna Diaz and a lot of luck we managed to finished Antarctic episode safely. Some delay due changing flight plan from VFR into IFR got me out over Beagle channel quite late. First part in between cloud layers avoiding ice was cold, but after I flew into the sun, life became more optimistic. Somewhere in the middle of Drake Passage Domen sent me METAR for Marambio which was in fog, so soon I decided to fly into my alternative Chilean military base Marsh Martin. The weather forecast for next day was very bad so I just extended my flight along the coast toward Deception and Elephant Islands and took some photos. Flight further on was blocked with frontal clouds, which were coming from SW. At Martin Marsh nobody was expecting me due some misunderstanding between Argentinean and Chilean authorities but even that was soon solved out. Alejo Contreras legendary Antarctic explorer (Ice man) who has already spent 30 years on this frozen continent greeted me and showed me where my two drums of fuel, which were shipped by boat two months ago from Punta Arenas, were waiting for me. After we had dinner with commander of the Base and I really got a warm welcome from everybody. Thanks guys, it was great pleasure meeting all of you. The weather was going to deteriorate the next day in the afternoon so if I didn’t want to be trapped in the Antarctic for another week I should fly back in the morning. After refueling with Avgas 100-130 which was not good for my engine but mixing with some healthy one was going to work, we pushed aircraft straight on the stony runway. I was soon cleared by excellent English speaking controller and headed out over freezing ocean staying low due clouds and later climbed to FL110. On the left side was a dark wall of frontal system so doors back to Marsh were closed. Right in the middle of Drake Passage there was a front moving to the east, so I managed to stay on the sun almost all the way to Tierra del Fuego where weather deteriorate. I had two options to try to overfly rising clouds and could get later in icy condition or going down to warmer air and looked for a window over Magellan strait. I decided for the second one, pulled brakes out somewhere over Cape Horn and got at 2000 ft bellow the cloud base and 2 deg. temperature. After slaloming between deep fjords, mountains climbing descending and finally got over the Magellan strait which I followed mostly IMC (thanks to great Garmin GTN750) to Punta Arenas where the weather cleared and I manage to land in sunny weather. With a great help of señor Nelson from DAP I prepared my flight over the Jelo Patagonico to Concepcion. Late departure due paperwork, refueling, and checking the carburetors (I found some leaks) got me out over the cloud deck straight to Torres del Paine. Amazing views were spoiled by engine problem, loosing some RPM and power so turned to Calafate. After several looong minutes engine sound got back to normal so I continued toward the glaciers Perito Moreno, Upsala, Viedma and Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy which were clear of clouds in almost no wind. Great views but a lot frustration as I was not confident with engine run and had a strong smell of fuel when I opened the window. Soon the clouds covered the glaciers and fjords and only highest peaks remained outside. At FL120 and -9 degrees would be a real challenge getting the aircraft down in peace in case of engine failure. It was time for some meditation and self realization that sometimes we should just believe without reason. Clouds and ice got higher, so I climbed to FL155 all the way to the coast, where Domen got me information that the weather in Concepcion is clearing. Evening landing in Concepcion which was stroked by earthquake and Tsunami just months ago, was a huge relief.