georgebush
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Flights Over The South Pole?

Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:35 pm

I know there are several flights that go directly or somewhat directly over the North Pole (ie Chicago to China flights). But are there any that fly directly over the south pole?? Flight numbers would be great if you happen to know any, thanks!
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SLCNate
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RE: Flights Over The South Pole?

Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:59 pm

I think this topic has been discussed in detail in the past. If I remember correctly, there are no commercial flights going over the south pole, but Qantas used to operate tours over Antarctica.
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timz
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RE: Flights Over Antarctica

Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:06 am

Quoting SLCNate (Reply 1):
I think this topic has been discussed in detail in the past.

I think somebody said Qantas doesn't allow their scheduled flights to go south of 60S-- aside from that you probably wouldn't learn much from all the detailed discussion.

Probably aren't any scheduled airport-pairs that would have any reason to go over the pole anyway.
 
airbazar
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RE: Flights Over The South Pole?

Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:31 am

Some potential routes to go over the south pole would be routes between Australia and S.America.
GRU-SYD/MEL, EZE-PER, and SCL-PER all come very close to the south pole.
 
rampart
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RE: Flights Over The South Pole?

Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:28 am

Fiddling with Great Circle Mapper, the most direct trans-Antarctic route that could be a legitimate service was GIG-MEL and PER-EXE, the latter one is a stretch at "legitimate". A number of others -- EZE-SIN, EZE-SYD, SCL-SYD for instance -- get close to Antarctica. All of these have VAST areas beyond a 207 minute, and certainly 180 minute, ETOPS rule. All were over 7000 miles, and circum-Antarctic are intense, so headwinds would be another problem.

I don't recall if there was a moratorium on trans-Antarctic commercial flying after that Air New Zealand crash in 1979.

-Rampart
 
cedarjet
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RE: Flights Over The South Pole?

Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:36 am

Quoting SLCNate (Reply 1):
I think this topic has been discussed in detail

New to me.

Quoting SLCNate (Reply 1):
Qantas used to operate tours over Antarctica.

I went on one 31 Dec 2003, I thought it would have very laidback and middle-aged clientelle but it was a bit much, the pax were, well, if they were NYers, they would have had names like Cheech. Blue collar dudes and their women, and these people DRINK. Every single passenger got completely and absolutely legless. To be in a sealed aircraft with 350 plastered Australians for fourteen hours was pretty intense (I don't drink - d'oh). I don't fancy doing it again to be honest - although it wasn't all bad, a hot lesbian couple had sex in the toilet, with the door open, and the guy next to me had a bag of coke which he offered me. He called it Go Go. "D'ya want some Go Go, mate?" Actually I declined cos the idea of doing a line without being able to smoke a cigarette for another nine hours was too awful to contemplate.

Anyway the aircraft was a 747-400ER (my first time on one) and we flew about six hours, first to Hobart, I don't know why we didn't take a direct route straight south. Some kind of fuel or mechanical checkpoint to get performance numbers to make it legal. So 35,000 ft overhead Hobart we turned due south and eventually crossed the coast unfortunately covered by cloud (entire pax shoving booze down their throats as fast as they could the whole time btw). After nearly an hour the cloud parted and we went down to 20,000 feet - min altitude for QF on these flights (which is about 10,000 feet above the highest terrain - as a result of TE901). We had some absolutely staggering views and glaciers, I took some amazing photos (I have cover artwork for 150 chill out CDs). We did a lot of turns, the pilots said it was to give people on both sides of the aircraft a good view (explanation of seating allocation below), but I spoke to the first officer on the way back to Sydney and he said he was "relieved as hell to find a gap in the clouds" - there were some mild disclaimers during the long flight south that the whole continent might be covered in clouds, up to date wx info is scarce in that inhospitable part of the world. So I suspect we saw a very tiny part of Antarctica over and over again from lots of different angles. Anyway it was a very cool and unique experience, although 14 hours is a long time to be hemmed in with REALLY REALLY DRUNK PEOPLE. I absolutely guarantee fifty or more people never even saw any ice cos they were so into the booze that they passed out within the first five hours inflight. Cabin crew who do these flights get double flight pay and two weeks R&R. And when we got off back at Sydney, they looked like they needed it.

Seating:

I don’t remember the seating in detail but basically they ring a bell or whatever halfway through the Antarctica portion of the flight, and the window seats (A, K) swap with an inside aisle seat (D, G). So you get two boarding cards, Sydney to Antarctica and Antarctica to Sydney (which is nice). I had an aisle to Antarctica and a window for the second leg. (B and J are sold as “close to a window”, and the cheapo cheapo option you get E or F for the whole flight). What happens in fact is that everyone stands up the whole time except some of the window occupants. Standing in the aisle and looking through four or five windows at once from a distance of 4’ or whatever is fine, or crowding round the full-size windows in the exits. I took my window seat after the changeover but my new seatmate was SO drunk and SO aggressive and off his trolley I went back to the aisle.

Quoting Rampart (Reply 3):
I don't recall if there was a moratorium on trans-Antarctic commercial flying after that Air New Zealand crash in 1979.

That TE flight was incredibly low, if I recall - something like 1,000 feet above sea level? They were skimming along the ice practically, thinking they were over the sea, but Mt Erebus rose directly ahead but obscured. Maybe it was a tiny bit higher than 1,000 feet but it's in that ballpark. An accident like that would have no bearing on trans-Antarctic ops conducted at 35,000 feet, tens of thousands of feet above the highest terrain on the continent. (And there was some trans-Antarctic flying in the 70s, probably no less than now; 707s from Chile and Argentina via AKL to SYD and QF certainly has had a bash at S America, including in the 707 / 70s era.)
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timz
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RE: Flights Over The South Pole?

Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:47 am

Quoting Cedarjet (Reply 4):
there was some trans-Antarctic flying in the 70s

Scheduled flights? From where to where?
 
rampart
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RE: Flights Over The South Pole?

Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:40 am

Quoting Cedarjet (Reply 4):
That TE flight was incredibly low, if I recall - something like 1,000 feet above sea level? They were skimming along the ice practically, thinking they were over the sea, but Mt Erebus rose directly ahead but obscured.

I didn't know that, thanks. Skimming over or near Antarctica, while thrilling, seems foolhardy. Would any tourist flight on a large airliner do the same off the coast or over land anywhere else? Doubt it.

By the way, you post one of the most entertaining trip reports I've ever read. Thanks for that!

-Rampart
 
Stealthz
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RE: Flights Over The South Pole?

Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:56 am

Quoting Rampart (Reply 6):
By the way, you post one of the most entertaining trip reports I've ever read. Thanks for that!

 checkmark   checkmark 

Addressing the original question,
The main markets in the South seem to be SYD-EZE and SYD-SCL both via Auckland and these routes do not go that far South, I do not beleive there is a MEL-South America Service. In the other direction SYD-JNB and PER-JNB do not go that far South either. Rampart, your hypothetical PER-EZE would be the most "Polar" route but don't really think there is a demand, one never knows though. The SIN-EZE route would head over the continent but could hardly be called Polar though at 9870 miles may have other issues.

Cheers
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airbazar
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RE: Flights Over The South Pole?

Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:10 am

I'd say GRU-SYD is arguably the route with the greatest pontential of ever becoming a reality but even that doesn't go right over the south pole.
 
SLCNate
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RE: Flights Over The South Pole?

Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:47 am

Quoting Cedarjet (Reply 4):
New to me.

Here you go.

http://airliners.net/discussions/gen...hid=2511222&s=south+pole#ID2511222

Although there is no harm in discussing the same topic again. I myself have wondered a lot about this route in the past.
 
SkyyMaster
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RE: Flights Over The South Pole?

Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:00 am

I do recall in an earlier thread discussing AKL-South Africa services, some New Zealand members indicated there's still too many fresh wounds from the DC10 crash for NZ to begin trans-Antarctic services any time soon. As mentioned previously, the closest things going now are AKL to SCL and EZE, and not that close.
 
Stealthz
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RE: Flights Over The South Pole?

Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:21 am

Even AKL-JNB would likely not go much South of 65deg,
Last year the A380 went deep over the Antarctic between JNB and SYD but that was a major detour to increase the triptime.

Cheers
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LTU932
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RE: Flights Over The South Pole?

Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:29 am

Quoting StealthZ (Reply 11):
Last year the A380 went deep over the Antarctic between JNB and SYD but that was a major detour to increase the triptime.

They even crossed the South Pole on that occasion. I saw in one of those Airbus vids on the technical route proving, where JNB-SYD was flown as a Transantartic flight.
 
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zeke
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RE: Flights Over The South Pole?

Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:18 am

Quoting Timz (Reply 2):

I think somebody said Qantas doesn't allow their scheduled flights to go south of 60S-- aside from that you probably wouldn't learn much from all the detailed discussion.

If I recall correctly its 65 deg south, and only limiting an the AKL-JNB flight



The thick line is 65 deg south latitude

[Edited 2007-04-06 02:39:55]
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cedarjet
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RE: Flights Over The South Pole?

Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:09 am

Quoting Timz (Reply 6):
Scheduled flights? From where to where?

LAN Chile and Aerolineas Argentinas flew to Sydney in the 70s, mostly immigrants leaving South America to live in Oz. Certainly there is a large Argentinian community, and some Chileans, in Sydney, and that's how they arrived. Those flights were charters btw.

Quoting Rampart (Reply 7):
Skimming over or near Antarctica, while thrilling, seems foolhardy. Would any tourist flight on a large airliner do the same off the coast or over land anywhere else? Doubt it.

No. I don't know what they were thinking. Although to elaborate slightly, they were over the water. They thought they were flying up a fjord or whatever, between two land masses, but the whole track was 10nm off due to a computer error by the airline (which they went to disgraceful lengths to cover up and blame the dead pilots). I don't think they could see much, that was the problem.

Quoting SkyyMaster (Reply 11):
do recall in an earlier thread discussing AKL-South Africa services, some New Zealand members indicated there's still too many fresh wounds from the DC10 crash for NZ to begin trans-Antarctic services any time soon.

Well that's absurd. Like I said, they were mucking around way way below the terrain in the area. It's like United not flying over Iowa after the DC10 crash in Sioux City, or AA deleting JFK cos one of their FOs tore the tail off an A300 there. That said, the TE 901 crash was a genuine national trauma, nearly everyone in the country knew someone on the flight. But to avoid a whole CONTINENT cos of the mistakes of one unusual flight 30 years ago is pretty irrational.

Quoting Rampart (Reply 7):
By the way, you post one of the most entertaining trip reports I've ever read. Thanks for that!

Thanks so much brother. That was one WACKY flight.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz