Homebuilt Pilot Stranded In Antarctica

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"Locals" Won't Supply Fuel...

It looks like a famous Australian aerial adventurer who flew his RV-4 to Antarctica will be taking a Hercules home -- and leaving his aircraft behind (after disassembly) until (perhaps) February. Jon Johanson, who in 2000 flew his Vans homebuilt aircraft from Australia to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and back again, was on a new record-setting flight from New Zealand to Argentina, via the South Pole, when higher-than-forecast winds forced him down. The unplanned fuel stop was at the McMurdo Station scientific outpost on Monday. But officials for the National Science Foundation (NSF), which runs McMurdo and New Zealand's nearby Scott Base, have (so far) refused to fly in the 400 liters of fuel he needs to complete his journey. NSF officials say they are following a long-established policy. A news release issued by the NSF Wednesday said Johanson will be offered a seat on one of the regularly scheduled Hercules flights that come and go several times a week at McMurdo. A supply ship will take his plane out in February (a trip that may cost upward of $10,000). Johanson will have to pay for himself and his airplane to leave the continent. "We have extended the pilot the normal courtesies routinely offered by New Zealand and U.S. stations in Antarctica," said Lou Sanson, CEO of Antarctica New Zealand.