Australian Antarctic Division service provider Skytraders expects to complete fitting out ski-equipped EADS Casa C-212-400 turboprops this month. The two aircraft, which will fly transport and field support services for the Australian Antarctic programme between the Antarctic bases of Casey, Davis and Mawson, are the first C-212s in the world to be equipped with snow skis.
Sydney-based Skytraders has worked on the programme with EADS Casa and Canadian ski supplier Kehler Skis. The skis were installed on the first of the two turboprops in Canada, followed by trials in Greenland.
The second aircraft is being equipped in Australia. The programme is expected to attract considerable interest from the science community, says Norman Mackay, chief executive of Skytraders. "We are the first to put skis on this aircraft. It's a big project and could transform the way science programmes are carried out," he says.