Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

Freshies at Summit Station

Phil Austin (left) takes the reigns at Summit Station from outgoing manager Brad Whelchel. One of the first tasks for the new five-member staff: unpack and store the freshies that arrived with on the Twin Otter that carried off the departing staff. Photo: Tracy Sheeley

Phil Austin (left) takes over at Summit Station from outgoing manager Brad Whelchel. Photo: Tracy Sheeley

Staff turnover complete

What started a day late due to weather ended right on time. Earlier today, Summit Station’s webcam showed an image of stirred snow, indicating that the ski-equpped Twin Otter carrying departing staff was ‘off-deck.’ The plane was bound for Constable Pynt, on Greenland’s western coast, for a quick refueling before delivering eight PFS personnel to Iceland this evening.

Clear, calm weather all week assisted turnover, Tracy Sheeley (PFS Summit Station lead) wrote earlier today.

A shift in the operations calendar brought fresh staff (and freshies, seen behind Phil and Brad) to Greenland a few weeks earlier than they traditionally would arrive for turnover. The earlier date “equates to more daylight, which has been a nice bonus,” Tracy noted.

In addition to calm weather and daylight, trading a well-seasoned team for another well-seasoned team meant turnover activities were uneventful – and that’s good.

“Both incoming and outgoing crews have been great, coordinating their efforts and working very smoothly together throughout the week,” Tracy wrote. “We even found time last night to enjoy a Halloween viewing of The Shining.”

The outgoing team overnights in Iceland tonight before they scatter to the south. “Three of the five are bound for the USAP’s South Pole Station,” Tracy said. Many thanks and good adventures to Brad Whelchel, Lana Cohen, shawntel stapleton, Dave Benson and Ian McEwen.

As for the incoming group – Jennie Mowatt (PFS Science Technician), Brandon Strellis (NOAA Science Technician), Phil Austin (PFS Summit Manager), Karl Krupke (PFS Mechanic), John Lyons (PFS ICECAPS Technician) – they’ve unpacked the freshies and completed a round of science experiment and station facilities monitoring by now, no doubt. We’ll ask for pictures once the snow settles.

As for Russ Howes, longtime Greenland maintenance lead who is moving over to Alaska and Toolik Field Station, many thanks for assisting with what may be your last Summit turnover! See you back here at PFS World HQ soon.

Summit Station is funded and managed by the U.S. National Science Foundation’s polar programs team in cooperation with the Government of Greenland. CH2M HILL Polar Services operates the station under contract to the NSF.

2 thoughts on “Freshies at Summit Station

  1. Darla Elder

    Hi, Love the article! But I am trying to get in touch with Phil Austin, his old email does not work 🙁

    Happy Holidays,

    Darla Elder

  2. kiprithner Post author

    Hi Darla –

    We passed your information along using an address we have. Thanks for writing!

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