A Norse Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner becomes the largest-ever aircraft to land on Antarctica at the Troll Airfield on November 15, 2023
A Boeing 787 airliner crew has made history by being the largest aircraft to land on the icy wastes of Antarctica. However, don’t rush to book your next vacation flight just yet: the risky journey was undertaken to bring supplies to scientists at a remote outpost.The Norse Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner touched down on November 15 a special 9,840-foot-foot-long (3,000 meters) runway on Queen Maud Land, a part of Antarctica that faces southern Africa and is claimed by Norway. Video of the historic event shows much of the crew of the nearby Norwegian Polar Institute turned out on a sunny spring day to see the massive plane land. The airfield notably has no Instrument Landing System to guide planes in, requiring pilots to flex their visual judgment skills at what is effectively no different from landing in an open field or a desert plain.
Troll Airfield is no stranger to large transport aircraft, which over the years have included Ilyushin IL-76 and Lockheed C-130 cargo planes, as well as P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft and a Boeing 767 airliner. Two years ago, an Airbus A340 landed at the remote ice station. However, the wide-bodied Boeing 787 is by far the largest at 187 feet long with a 197-foot wingspan and weighing up to 500,000 pounds.
The flight wasn’t a commercial passenger trip, though: the NPI contracted Norse Atlantic to send a 787 because of the aircraft’s large cargo capacity, which brought 45 scientists to the remote research station and some 12 tons of supplies.WorldChina Aims to Build New Base in Antarctica by February 2024 – Reports2 November, 11:42 GMTThe 787 left Oslo on November 13 and flew to Cape Town, South Africa, before making the 2,600-mile trip straight southward for Troll Airfield.
“It is a great honor and excitement on behalf of the entire team Norse that we have achieved together a momentous moment of landing the first 787 Dreamliner,” Norse Atlantic Airways CEO, Bjorn Tore Larsen, said in a statement.
“In the spirit of exploration, we are proud to have a hand in this important and unique mission. It is a true testament to our highly trained and skilled pilots and crew, and our state-of-the-art Boeing aircraft.”NPI director Camilla Brekke told US media: “This [flight] demonstrates our capability of performing more effective flight operations to Antarctica by carrying a larger scientific and logistics crew, more cargo, with a smaller environmental footprint.”