On October 8, 1970 a C-121 Lockheed Constellation named “Pegasus” crashed at a remote airstrip in Antarctica while attempting to land in near-zero visibility conditions. Thankfully nobody onboard was seriously injured, and the ice strip – Pegasus Field – was subsequently named in the aircraft’s honour. With few souvenir hunters or scrap dealers trekking around the Antarctic, the Constellation Pegasus can still be seen today, hidden beneath a blanket of snow.
Pegasus Field is the southernmost of three runways serving McMurdo Station, a U.S. Antarctic research station located on the southern tip of Ross Island. The others are Williams Field, limited to the use of ski-equipped aircraft, and the Ice Runway, which is available during the summer Antarctic field season. In 2008 a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III touched down at Pegasus Field in what became the first landing in Antarctica aided by night vision goggles, a modern luxury not available to the crew of the Constellation. (For more stories of adventure and heroism, check out Richard Nelsson’s excellent blog Those Who Dared.)
Keep reading – explore the Mothballed Russian Research Station Leningradskaya, and visit this Post-Soviet Aircraft Graveyard in Far East Russia.