US ANG’s LC-130 Skibird aircrews train at Raven Camp, Greenland

LC-130 Hercules aircraft and aircrew belonging to the New York Air National Guard’s (ANG) 109th Airlift Wing have participated in a training programme at Raven Camp, Greenland.

The ski-equipped aircraft, also known as Skibird, are used to fly in and out of remote locations in Antarctica and Greenland in support of the National Science Foundation.

139th Airlift Squadron ski mission co-pilot student, Air Force Major Dia Ham said: “[Raven Camp] is where we do a lot of our practice and learning.”

“Antarctica is all missions; there’s no time to do multiple landings or try things out. The training here is so valuable.”

Aircrews have undergone specialised training at Raven Camp to learn arctic survival skills and procedures and steps to follow for landing an aircraft in the snow.

In addition, loadmasters trained to perform combat offloads such as unloading cargo from a moving aircraft with the ramp lowered just 18-inch above the snow.

Air Force Airman 1st Class Taylor Richards said: “There’s a lot you have to learn really quickly.

“The stuff that we do, they can’t teach you in load-master school because it’s only stuff that we do [in this unit]. There are only about 60 load-masters in the unit, and we’re the only ones in the world who do this, so there’s a little bit of a learning curve.”

The unit has completed 50 training missions to date and is currently on its fifth rotation of the Greenland season, which began in April and will end in September.

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