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787 makes history landing in Antarctica

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  • Norse 787 makes record as largest aircraft to land at Troll Research Station
  • Aircraft allows more equipment to be supplied to remote location

A Norse Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner has made history by becoming the first example of the type to land in Antarctica. The project was arranged by the Norwegian Polar Institute in partnership with Norse Atlantic Airways (N0/NBT). The Institute operates continuous monitoring programs in the Arctic and Antarctic to understand environmental changes and their consequences. Such programs require regular resupply – enter the 787.

Image: Norwegian Polar Institute

“This (the 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”

Camilla Brekke – NPI Director

In addition to being the first visit of a 787 to Antarctica, the flight has also set the record as being the largest aircraft to land at Troll Airfield. 

Image: Norwegian Polar Institute

The flight

The aircraft, a Boeing 787-8 registered LN-FNC, began its journey from Oslo Gardermoen Airport (OSL/ENGM) on November 13 with a flight to Cape Town Airport (CPT/FACT) in South Africa. The aircraft then spent around 48 hours in Cape Town before departing for Troll Research Station (QAT/ENOE) in Antarctica. 

The aircraft flew a 5:08 flight returning to Cape Town at 13:30 on November 16, 2023. 

How we tracked the flight

During its time over the sea we primarily tracked the aircraft using satellite, but closer to Troll we identified the aircraft using our ADS-B receiver. At the end of 2015 we activated our first receiver in Antarctica at the Troll Research Station operated by the Norwegian Polar Institute tracking our first flight in Antarctica (a resupply flight operated by a Privatair 737, registered HB-JJA).

The Flightradar24 ADS-B installed at the NILU environmental monitoring and clean air sampling station.
Image: Norwegian Polar Institute

What goes into operating an airport in Antarctica? We took a deep dive into Troll Research Station and the challenges in maintaining a blue ice runway. 

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