19 April 2007
Air-dropping once again postponed
The air-dropping of equipment necessary to the April mission on the Tara polar base and of supplies for the months to come has not yet taken place.
After bureaucratic complications, the Tara team has faced constraints linked to the weather. Indeed, a depression settled in over the North Pole and its surroundings since last Friday provoked the longest storm that Tara ever endured since the beginning of the drift (last September) with average winds of 30 knots.
However, in the past six days, two weather windows could have allowed for the air-dropping to take place on Monday afternoon and on Tuesday night. We attempted to re-launch the Russian logistics during these two windows without success. The Russian’s time reaction was too slow to accomplish the mission in good conditions. The windows being short, minor problems thwarted the flights.
In the past few days, the only plane that has been able to fly in the region is a Twin Otter of the Tara Damocles logistics. This plane was mobilised for an emergency mission in the Pole on Monday afternoon. Unable to land to rescue two diabetics, this plane was compelled to air-drop insulin before returning to its base.
Today the weather forecast has improved on the base and an air-dropping can be planned.
However, in Longyearbyen (Spitzberg), the Tara team is studying a B plan for the logistics of April between the Tara base and Spitzberg. The base that was supposed to welcome about fifteen scientists of the European programme DAMOCLES will be compelled in this case to revise downwards its ambitions by 60%.