Another Adventurer Heads For South Pole

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OK, British pilot Polly Vacher had to turn back in the face of bad weather last month, after flying her Piper Dakota to the Antarctic peninsula. Australian pilot Jon Johanson was stranded for days after landing at McMurdo-Scott Base in need of fuel. He finally took off after gassing up from Vacher's unused cache. And now Gus McLeod, 49, of Maryland, is on his way south, having launched on Monday from College Park Airport, flying a modified Velocity kitplane called the Firefly. McLeod intends to become the first person to fly solo over both the North and South Poles in a single-engine plane -- the same goal both Vacher and Johanson were trying to achieve.

Vacher said McLeod has asked to use her fuel cache at McMurdo, but she agreed only if he has written permission to land there, which was not yet clear as of Monday. In 2000, McLeod had to abandon his open-cockpit biplane in the Arctic after flying it over the North Pole. McLeod has planned to take two months for this 28,000-mile trip, and is financing the effort himself.