Belgrano II Personnel Rotation
ALE has provided intercontinental and feeder flights for the annual rotation of personnel at Argentina’s Belgrano II station for several seasons. The station lies at the southern end of the Weddell Sea and is the most southerly station in this area. Ship access is hampered by extensive sea ice, in a region where Shackleton’s Endurance was beset and finally sunk a hundred years ago. Access by air provides an alternative means to reach the station.
Station personnel are flown by Ilyushin 76-TD aircraft from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Union Glacier, then on to Belgrano II by Basler BT-67 and DHC-6 Twin Otter. The outgoing crew, who have overwintered at the station, return to Ushuaia by the same route.
Belgrano II Airdrop
ALE has conducted three annual re-supplies by major airdrop for Belgrano station (February 2014, February 2016, February 2017). Each mission delivered 150-166 tonnes of food, fuel and equipment over eight or nine, 3700 mile (6000 km) round-trip flights. ALE hired an expert airdrop crew from the Russian Rescue Center in Moscow to assist with the contract, with an ALE ground crew providing assistance and collecting the loads and platforms at the airdrop site.