Coast Guard Completes Mission to North Pole



BARROW, Alaska – The Coast Guard successfully reached the North Pole Thursday as a test of its ability to operate in the Arctic region.

The 1,100 mile flight aboard a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules airplane originated in Barrow at 8:30 a.m., and reached the North Pole at 12:32 p.m., AST. As the airplane headed north the sun rose off the aircraft’s right side, but then descended below the horizon as the airplane reached higher latitudes. The sun rose again as the aircraft headed toward Barow.

Although the inside of the aircraft was kept at a comfortable temperature for the 21 passengers and crew, temperatures outside reached -40 degrees. To navigate the crew relied on GPS navigation, as magnetic compasses had a fluctuating variation of more than 70 degrees.

As the aircraft crossed and circled 90 degrees north longitude 157 degrees west latitude, the North Pole, it briefly traveled into Friday before returning to Thursday. Before departing for Barrow the aircraft circled the pole and passed through every time zone, briefly making it the fastest moving object on the planet.

Coast Guard history in the Arctic dates back to the 1860s when the first Lighthouse Service Tender was deployed to the region. Thursdays trip to the North Pole was the first time the Coast Guard has reached 90 degrees north in a C-130 exclusively for the purpose of Arctic Domain Awareness.

NORTH POLE 03:BARROW, Alaska--The 21 passengers and crew of Coast Guard C-130 Hercules airplane 1703 stand for a group photo after successfully reaching the North Pole Thursday. The airplane and crew are from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak. (Official U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kurt Fredrickson)

NORTH POLE 03:BARROW, Alaska–The 21 passengers and crew of Coast Guard C-130 Hercules airplane 1703 stand for a group photo after successfully reaching the North Pole Thursday. The airplane and crew are from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak.

Official U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kurt Fredrickson

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2 Comments

  1. Debra Kendrick says:

    My son-in-law, Jeff Estes was the meteorologist on this flight. We are proud of him and proud of the job the Coast Guard does. Keep up the good work!

  2. john says:

    Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to join the coast guard and go to the academy. But now I know that after the academy I want to go to flight school and become a pilot of the C-130 Hercules.