We are hoping to take the Hawk to Antarctica early next year as part of the New Zealand Terrestrial Antarctic Biocomplexity Survey.  This is a major departure from our current New Zealand native plant survey conducted from the North Shore Model Aero Club site at Dairy Flat.

There are many things to consider in this deployment.  What effect will the cold have on the battery capacity? Can we obtain suitable maps with digital elevation data to enable us to fly there?  Will we be able to land the Hawk without damaging the sensors or the airframe?  Can we handle the wind conditions?  Will the sensors work reliably in the environment there?  Even something as simple as the catapult launch may be different - if the ground is sandy or rocky, will we be able to anchor the bungee at the upwind end?

Not the least consideration is "Are the pilots fit enough to work in the environment down there, where daily walking may be 20 - 25 km carrying equipment and wearing protective gear.

Today, Prof. John B spent time setting up the simulator to see if the system already has Antarctica in the GCS computer.  (It doesn't - the coordinates can be entered, but there is no terrain information to display).

Whatever, this deployment is very exciting.  Watch this space for further news!