STRATTON ANGB, New York – The New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing launched the first of five LC-130 “Skibird” aircraft to Antarctica Oct. 19 to support National Science Foundation research.

The LC-130 version of the C-130 Hercules is the largest aircraft in the world able to land on snow and ice on skis. The aircraft are equipped with eight-bladed propellers for the turboprop engines to provide additional power.

Throughout the four-month support season, 420 Airmen will deploy for the mission.

The Airmen will operate out of the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station, flying personnel and supplies throughout the continent from November to March.