McMurdo Air Force Base with Airplane

McMurdo Air Force Base CMT Professionals

McMurdo Air Force Base

Ice Runways for Science

Master Plan for a Unique Airfield

National Science Foundation | McMurdo Station, Antarctica

The US Air Force currently flies C-17 and LC-130 missions to support the National Science Foundation (NSF) operations and its 1,200-person staff at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. For about six months during the austral summer, aircraft land and takeoff from either a nearby floating Sea Ice Runway or a farther away Glacial Ice Runway and adjacent snow-covered Skiway. As NSF looks to modernize its facilities, this study was undertaken to determine the most efficient airfield and facility layout for consolidating all air operations at a Single Airfield Complex to be located on the Ross Ice Shelf.

Crawford, Murphy & Tilly (CMT) conducted site visits and stakeholder engagement to develop the plan. The result was an airfield master plan layout for a very unique airfield environment consisting of an ice runway for wheeled aircraft, compacted snow skiway for ski-equipped aircraft, aircraft parking spaces for C-17, LC-130, Basler DC-3 and Twin Otter aircraft, as well as fuel pit connection points for refueling the aircraft on site. In addition, CMT created conceptual floor plans for consolidating a myriad of airfield support functions into a much more efficient arrangement of new right-sized facilities with increased functional capability.

Project Contact(s)

Richard Thuma, PE, ENV SP, Doug Gregory, CM

Project Service(s)

  • Fueling Facilities
  • Planning