Flying to Antarctica is no easy feat. It takes a tremendous amount of special preparation, especially when planning for an aircraft type’s maiden voyage. When long-time Jeppesen JetPlanner
customer Hi Fly began planning the first ever Airbus A340 flight to the remote, glacial ice of Wolf’s Fang Runway in Antarctica, the airline knew they could rely on the flight planning tool’s existing capabilities to design an accurate, safe flight to the polar continent.
“We’ve been using JetPlanner as our flight planning software since 2006, and knew it had all the capabilities we needed to meet the unique needs of this pioneering flight, despite its remote nature and unique challenges,” said Kátia Vidal Flight Support Manager and EFB Administrator, Hi Fly.
Features like JetPlanner’s optimized route planning, intuitive graphical interface, and customizable templates were key to success as the flight planning team took into account the following unique planning parameters for this mission:
- Runway performance for landing an Airbus A340 on a grooved glacial blue ice runway was previously unpublished, so runway data was modeled for flight planning.
- There are no published air traffic control procedures at Wolf’s Fang Runway, a private airport with uncontrolled air space. The flight planning team assumed a combination of Instrument and Visual Flight Rules (IVR/VFR) would be needed for landing.
- Accurate forecasting of winds and temperatures aloft was required in order to adjust to flying at lower altitudes south of the 60-degree parallel line.
- No refueling in Antarctica was available for this maiden flight – all fuel has to be transported by ship ahead of time, a costly prospect. JetPlanner’s tankering tools and manual calculations accounted for all fuel needed for a roundtrip flight, including a two-hour isolated aerodrome fuel policy and three hours of ground time in Antarctica.