109th Airlift Wing completes annual National Science Foundation support

The 109th Airlift Wing (AW) of the New York Air National Guard and its Lockheed LC-130 ‘Skibird’ aircraft returned to Stratton Air National Guard Base on September 22 after its annual season of providing support to the National Science Foundation (NSF) ice cap site at Raven Camp in Greenland.

The 109th AW’s season ran from March to September which is an extension of two months to the typical seasons the airlift unit have performed in recent years. Commencing the season in March to provide an additional month of training for aircrew in such a unique environment seemed to be beneficial to the 109th’s operations.

Maj Jacob Papp, 109th AW chief of Arctic operations said: “Going up in March was beneficial to get the initial put in of Raven Camp, this allowed us to keep a cadre of instructors and evaluators current to then provide instruction for the following on flight period”. 

An LC-130 Skibird assigned to the 109th Airlift Wing operates at Raven Camp, Greenland.  US ANG photo by Maj David Price

 A total of 678 hours were flown by 109th aircrew throughout the season, the unit supplied 1.3 million pounds of cargo, 32,000gal of fuel and delivered 910 passengers.

In addition to the usual obstacles of artic flying such as, the weather and long-distance flights to land on austere snow and ice runway locations, covid-19 still provided the 109th AW with challenges during the 2021 season. 

A plan was put together to overcome these challenges by the unit in conjunction with the NSF and the Danish Government. This helped the unit provide much more cargo supply than the 2020 season when they only through critical missions due to the pandemic and which accumulated a result of 30,000Ib of cargo delivered. 

Airmen assigned to the 109th Airlift Wing participate in a mission at Raven Training Area. US ANG photo by Maj David Price