Pegasus Field

Pegasus Field (ICAO: NZPG) was an airstrip in Antarctica, the southernmost of three airfields serving McMurdo Station. It closed due to excessive melting in the summer season caused by warmer temperatures combined with dust and dirt blown in from nearby Black Island. The last flight was on December 8, 2016[4] and it was replaced by Phoenix Airfield (ICAO: NZFX)[5][6][7] with flights expected to start in February 2017.[6]

Pegasus Field
Pegasus Field runway.jpg
White ice runway at Pegasus Field
LocationMcMurdo Station, Ross Island, Antarctica
Elevation AMSL18 ft / 5 m
Coordinates77°57′48″S 166°31′28″E / 77.96333°S 166.52444°E / -77.96333; 166.52444Coordinates: 77°57′48″S 166°31′28″E / 77.96333°S 166.52444°E / -77.96333; 166.52444
NZPG is located in Antarctica
Location of airfield in Antarctica
Direction Length Surface
ft m
15/33 10,000 3,048 Ice
08/26 10,000 3,048 Ice

Pegasus was originally conceived as a blue ice runway capable of handling wheeled aircraft year-round, but as it was developed, it was enhanced with a 4-inch layer of compacted snow on top—thus more properly characterizing it as a white ice runway. [8] Other local runways are the snow runways at Williams Field (ICAO: NZWD) that are limited to ski-equipped aircraft, and the Ice Runway (ICAO: NZIR) on the sea-ice available during the summer Antarctic field season.

The field is named after Pegasus, a C-121 Lockheed Constellation that made a forced landing on unprepared terrain in bad weather on October 8, 1970. None of the 80 on board was seriously injured. The aircraft remains in-situ near the airfield as of 2019, and has remained well preserved. It is generally covered with snow, but is occasionally excavated by visitors wishing to photograph it.[9]

On September 11, 2008, a United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster III successfully completed the first landing in Antarctica using night-vision goggles at Pegasus Field.[10] Previously air transport in the permanent darkness of the winter was only used in emergencies, with burning barrels of fuel to outline the runway.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Airport information for NZPG at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
  2. ^ Airport information for NZPG at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
  3. ^ US Antarctic Program Inter-agency Air Operations Manual
  4. ^ NZDF Airlift Missions Renew Lifeline For Scientists In Antarctica Archived 2017-01-06 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b US Antarctic Program Inter-agency Air Operations Manual – United States Antarctic Program
  7. ^ "A New Runway for McMurdo Station is Named". National Science Foundation. 7 April 2016.
  8. ^ Wallwork, Ellery D. (October 2006). "Operation Deep Freeze—50 Years of Air Force Airlift in Antarctica 1956–2006 (page 265)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-05-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Pegasus Wreck - Atlas Obscura - Accessed upon September 16, 2019
  10. ^ Rejcek, Peter (September 26, 2008). "Air Force successfully tests new capability to fly any time of year to McMurdo". Antarctic Sun.

External linksEdit