Airbus A340 Plane Lands On Antarctica For First Time

An anonymous reader quotes a report from India Today: For the first time in history, a commercial Airbus plane made a successful landing on the white continent of Antarctica. One of the company's A340 planes touched down on an ice runway earlier this month, paving the way for more tourism on the frozen landmass. The A340 took off on the morning of November 2 from Cape Town, South Africa before flying 2,500 nautical miles (4,630 km) to Antarctica. It then achieved an aviation first by successfully landing on a runway made of "blue glacial ice," according to the aircraft's pilot, Captain Carlos Mirpuri. CNN reported that the historic flight was operated by Hi Fly, a boutique aviation company, and was chartered by Wolf's Gang luxury adventure camp. The aircraft will be used this season to fly a small number of tourists, alongside scientists and cargo to the icy continent. There was "attention and anxiety" in the cockpit as the 190-tonne plane approached the runway in Antarctica. Captain Mirpuri detailed how the runway had to have special grooves carved into it to allow for more friction as the aircraft landed, which would have otherwise slipped down the icy course due to its heavy supply cargo. The pilots also had to wear special eye gear due to the glare coming off the polar ice. Thankfully, Mirpuri and the rest of the A340's crew managed to land safely and they took less than three hours to deliver all of the cargo.

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