Photo: C-17a Globemaster loading helicopters at Wilkins Aerodrome, Antarctica. © David Lomas. Finalist in the Antarctic Photography Exhibition 2016.
As part of the Australian Antarctic Festival, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will make available for public tours one of the largest military transport aircraft in the world, the mighty C-17a Globemaster. The aircraft is a veteran of several proof-of-concept flights linking Hobart Airport with the Wilkins Aerodrome near Australia’s Casey Station in Antarctica. This has the potential to provide a vital link for transport of heavy equipment, supplies and personnel that otherwise would have to travel by ship. It also significantly improves Australia’s ability to provide emergency airlifts and medical evacuations.
The aircraft has a 52m wingspan, meaning that you could park two of them on a standard soccer field, but only just. With a range of 10,000 kilometres, it is a highly capable aircraft that has been deployed all over the world to provide Australian humanitarian aid at times of natural disasters. You will meet the RAAF personnel who operate the plane and learn about the special challenges of flying to Antarctica.
Admission is by guided coach tour only. There is no parking or public entry at Hobart Airport. Board your coach at the Mac 2 TasPorts Cruise Ship Terminal in Hunter Street, Hobart for the 15-minue run to the airport with an informative guide on board. Tours run from 10am to 3pm (last departure) on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August, leaving every 30 minutes. Expect to be back at the TasPorts terminal approximately one hour after you depart.
Coach tickets are $10 per seat (no concessions) including your transport to and from Hobart Airport, your guide and a donation to the Mawson’s Huts Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation that works to preserve Australia’s most remote heritage site, Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison in East Antarctica. Tours are not suitable for children under the age of 8 years, for reasons of public safety. Please do not bring strollers or large backpacks – you will not be returning on the same coach that you boarded.
We are grateful to the Australian Defence Force for their generous support of the Australian Antarctic Festival. Visit them at the Antarctic Exhibition in Princes Wharf One on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August from 10am to 4pm.
NOTE: There is always a chance that operational requirements or weather conditions will prevent the RAAF bringing the aircraft to Hobart for the day. If it is necessary to cancel a tour, you will be notified as soon as possible and a full refund issued.
You can book your coach tickets online HERE.