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We have just landed on the North Pole, shown in this picture.

North Pole Expedition 2002.
Expedition Team On the Geographical North Pole - A tremendous Adventure
This is the Mil Mi-8 Heavy Lift helicopter just after we landed on the North Pole.
North Pole Page 6.
      North Pole page 6
North Pole Expedition 2002, 
We have just touched down on the North Pole.
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Planes on the runway at Camp Borner, an All Ice Runway
Picture by C. Jeff Dyrek

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Now we're on the ground but still 100 yards from the actual north pole. 

When the helicopter first sets down, the pilot puts the wheels on the ice very lightly still leaving most of the weight on the rotor blades.  One of the crew members jumps out and pushes a long rod into the snow right next to each of the wheels.  This is done to ensure that the helicopter is sitting on solid ice and not just snow filling a large hole.   If the pilot would let all of the pressure off of the rotor before this test was done and one of the wheels were in a snow covered hole it would cause the helicopter to tip over, breaking the blades and potentially creating serious injuries to the occupants of the aircraft.  This is why we use the Russian pilots and equipment for this expedition.  They are more experienced at arctic operations than pilots from anywhere in the world.  They know what equipment to use and how to use it.

Once the crewmember is done with his snow test, he signals the pilot that all is ok.  The pilot then lets all of the pitch off the rotor blades and lets the helicopter sink into the snow.  Then, without any notice he adds a lot of pitch to the blades, then removes it very quickly and repeatedly about five times pounding the wheels into the ice surface.  The reason he does this, I really don't know, if you know, please send me an email at the bottom of this page.



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