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Lockheed Constellation ‘Pegasus’, then & now ...

Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:24 pm

Final registration - BuN 131644.
Delivered to US Navy December 1953 as R7V-1 BuN 131644.
Redesignated C-121J November 1962.
To VX-6 Quonset Point September 1964 as "Pegasus".
Used annually in support of "Operation Deep Freeze".
Damaged at Williams Field, McMurdo Station, Antarctica on October 8, 1970 while attempting to land in zero visibility with winds gusting to over 40 mph.
Wreckage not salvaged and partially covered with snow.
http://www.conniesurvivors.com/131644.htm

Pegasus Field (ICAO: NZPG) was an airstrip in Antarctica, the southernmost of three airfields serving McMurdo Station. (Wiki info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMurdo_Station)
It closed due to excessive melting in the summer season caused by warmer temperatures combined with dust and dirt blown in from nearby Black Island. The last flight was on December 8, 2016[4] and it was replaced by Phoenix Airfield (ICAO: NZFX).

Pegasus Field was originally conceived as a blue ice runway capable of handling wheeled aircraft year-round, but as it was developed, it was enhanced with a 4-inch layer of compacted snow on top—thus more properly characterizing it as a white ice runway. [8] Other local runways are the snow runways at Williams Field (ICAO: NZWD) that are limited to ski-equipped aircraft, and the Ice Runway (ICAO: NZIR) on the sea-ice available during the summer Antarctic field season.

The field is named after Pegasus, a C-121 Lockheed Constellation that made a forced landing on unprepared terrain in bad weather on October 8, 1970. No one on board was injured. The aircraft remains in-situ at the airfield to this day, and has remained well preserved due to the low temperatures of the surrounding area.

On September 11, 2008, a United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster III successfully completed the first landing in Antarctica using night-vision goggles at Pegasus Field.[9] Previously air transport in the permanent darkness of the winter was only used in emergencies, with burning barrels of fuel to outline the runway.

Then:

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Lockheed Constellation ‘Pegasus’ crashed in a storm on the 8th of October 1970 with no loss of life.

Now:

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Re: Lockheed Constellation ‘Pegasus’, then & now ...

Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:32 pm

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C-121J Super Constellation aircraft 'Pegasus' flies over its sister ship 'Phoenix' at the Ice Runway at Williams Field near McMurdo Station.

Here's Pegasus' sister:

Below R7V-1 BUNO 131624 parked at the refueling area on the ice runway at NAF McMurdo, Antarctica.

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Re: Lockheed Constellation ‘Pegasus’, then & now ...

Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:41 pm

Wiki: "Operation Deep Freeze"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Deep_Freeze

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The beginnings of McMurdo in 1955.

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February 1st, 1955 Operation Deep Freeze is Established in Antarctica.

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McMurdo in 1960, note the oiler ships frozen in either side of Hut Point.

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1960 - oiler ship frozen into the sea ice

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Two U.S. Navy Yard Oiler Ships (YOG) frozen into the annual sea-ice at McMurdo in 1957.

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Operation Deep Freeze.

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The Phoenix.

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C-130 rocket assist takeoff.

Re: Lockheed Constellation ‘Pegasus’, then & now ...

Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:51 pm

October 31st, 1956
The R4D Skytrain "Que Sera Sera" lands at the South Pole.

On 31 October 1956, US Navy Rear Admiral George J. Dufek and others successfully landed a R4D Skytrain (Douglas DC-3) aircraft at the South Pole, as part of the expeditions mounted for the IGY. This was the first aircraft to land at the South Pole and the first time Americans had set foot on the South Pole. This marked the beginning of the establishment of the first permanent base, by airlift, at the South Pole (today known as the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station) to support the International Geophysical Year....
More info here: https://lflank.wordpress.com/2015/08/27 ... sera-sera/

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Personnel preheat the engines of the R4D-5L Skytrain nicknamed "Que Sera Sera" on the ice in the Antarctic on September 26, 1957, fifty-five years ago today. At the time the aircraft was assigned to Air Development Squadron (VX) 6 supporting Operation Deep Freeze. On October 31, 1956, the "Que Sera Sera" had made history by becoming the first aircraft to land at the South Pole. The historic airplane is now displayed in Hangar Bay One at The National Naval Aviation Museum.

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R4D Skytrain "Que Sera Sera" minus wings.

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The R4D Skytrain “Que Sera Sera”, on display in Pensacola.

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Re: Lockheed Constellation ‘Pegasus’, then & now ...

Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:21 am

Great photo essay, thank you for putting that together. I find Deep Freeze and associated operations fascinating.

Re: Lockheed Constellation ‘Pegasus’, then & now ...

Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:49 pm

That.....is awesome!!! Thanks!! :supz: :drink3:

Re: Lockheed Constellation ‘Pegasus’, then & now ...

Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:19 pm

sera then and now.jpg
sera then and now.jpg (212.19 KiB) Viewed 990 times

Let's start a GoFundMe to get the folks at Pensacola some stencils... :twisted: :wink:

Re: Lockheed Constellation ‘Pegasus’, then & now ...

Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:37 pm

I wonder if they left the interior and cockpit area alone or stripped it out?

Re: Lockheed Constellation ‘Pegasus’, then & now ...

Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:57 pm

And whether the interior is accessible or full of snow?

Re: Lockheed Constellation ‘Pegasus’, then & now ...

Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:39 am

I was reading the C-133 book today and it mentioned a Cargomaster landing on that strip in 1970, the type's first...and last...flight to that continent.
The author mentions the visible wreckage of the Pegasus was a reminder for the crew to be at the top of their game.
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