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13 December, 2003

Once again we are on hold.

The weather is marginal but it may open up so we do not want to get involved with any other site just in case Kirkpatrick opens up for us. So since we did not have anything to do right away, I gave Dino the morning off and Cynthia Aber, a helicopter pilot for PHI, took Dino for a ride on the Astar (Remember Dino is the mascot of my sister's kindergarten class in Oswego, NY). Cynthia has been flying for 19 years, the last 15 for PHI. She started this career after taking a test ride in a helicopter and became hooked on the excitement of flying rotary wing aircraft. This is her first season here in Antarctica, and finds the flying here a wonderful challenge. "We operate at higher altitudes regularly and the wind currents coming down slope from the mountains keep you on your toes." She added, "Also the constant cold makes everything harder to do."

Cynthia is a very through pilot and always double checks the maps to have her flight path fixed in her head instead of just a bunch of GPS coordinates. "I like to know where I am going visually before I get into the aircraft so I can prepare mentally for the trip." Like the rest of the pilots and helo-techs I have encountered here, safety is foremost on her mind.

We remain hopeful for tomorrow.



Cynthia Aber takes Dino for a ride.

Winds blow on Kirkpatrick keeping us away from our site. Photo by Dr. Philip Curie

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