In January two owner-flown TBM turboprop singles set off on a 2,700nm journey that would take them across Antarctica and over the magnetic South Pole
Aboard Chilean pilot Sebastian Diaz’s TBM 850 were his 88-year-old father Patricio, who is one of the oldest pilots still licensed on the TBM, and his son, Sebastian Jr. The other aircraft, a TBM 930, was flown by Dierk Reuter from Chicago, accompanied by his son Alex.
They carried cameras and an Iridium GO! satellite-based tracking system, and inflight photos were posted to Instagram in quasi real-time using Iridium messaging and software created by Reuters.
On New Year’s Day the TBMs left Punta Arenas in Chile bound for Teniente Rodolfo Marsh Martin Airport on King George Island, whose 4,232ft gravel runway serves the Antarctic Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva.
Next day they continued to the British Antarctic Survey Sky-Blu base, 807nm southwest, and reached the 75° South latitude turning point before returning to King George Island.
“The journey from my hometown Chicago to 75S 71W and back can be summarised in figures: 18,782nm, 64 hours, 3,080 gallons of jet fuel, and nineteen stopovers,” said Dierk Reuter.
“But it doesn’t tell the story about a pilot’s feeling to fly over the South Pole. The TBM is an awesome aircraft to explore the globe!”
Image(s) provided by: