17 May 2011

Building up for the plane on Thursday

Our landing strip (skiway) at NEEM is almost ready. Length: 12000
feet (3.7 km), width: 200 feet (61 m). In total, we prepare 30 hectares
(74 acres) of snow surface

On Thursday we hope to receive a plane with cargo, food and 16 new members of the NEEM staff. We are busy preparing everything in camp for the new arriving people. Much effort is put into cleaning up in camp and preparing the skiway, taxi way and apron.

The skiway is very important. It is our physical connection with the outside world. On flying to NEEM, the 109th will evaluate the skiway: Are the markings to standard?, Is the skiway even without rollers and bumps? Is the apron soft so the plane is stuck at the parking spot? And is the prepared snow hard enough so the plane can take-off again? All this will we evaluated on Thursday. It feels like going to examinations in school. If we pass, we may get more than double the minimum payload per flight, and since LC-130 flights are not cheap, it will be a huge economic benefit for the project. If we fail, we can only receive minimum payload.

What we have done today: 

1.  Drilling 0.4 m ice core and worked on broken winch.
2.  Made three weatherports ready for construction.
3.  Setup cargo ready area at the apron.
4.  Made garbage collection pallet.
5.  Grooming skiway, taxiway and southern half of apron lengthwise.
6.  Setting up CFA system.

Ad.1: Drillers report:
To improve chip transport away from the top of the drill head we increased the cutting pitch to about 5.5 mm to make coarser chips, and we also allowed time for clearing the head during drill penetration. We added the super-banger connection to help in the case of more hard core breaks due to packing at or above the head. After one fairly normal run, though, the winch motor failed. It labored as it pulled the drill out of the hole and a strong odor of electrical burning was detected.  After consulting with Steff and Simon back in Copenhagen for some good advice and some good luck, we disassembled the winch system and found a broken brush and lots of black debris in the area. The motor will need to be replaced with the
spare which is on the way on the next flight to camp. Meanwhile, we take this opportunity to prepare to replace the cable with the new 500 meter cable by removing the existing cable from the anti-torque and the drum. We are happy with the set up we have created in the “sauna” garage which provides us a good space for both routine drilling and more challenging
days like today.

Ad.4: All garbage in camp is sorted into fractions: Glas, metal, household waste, liquid waste (spent oil, spills), batteries etc. All will be flown from camp to Kangerlussuaq.

Weather: Clear. Temp. - 14 °C to - 23 °C, 12 knots from S, dropping to 4 knots in the evening. Unrestricted visibility.

FL, J.P. Steffensen 

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