The Soviet Drifting Ice Station, NORTH-67


  • Max C. Brewer





In April 1967, one of the Arctic Research Laboratory's aircraft made two landings at the Soviet Drifting Ice Station NORTH-67. The station was on a floe about 2 metres thick which was somewhat cracked around the perimeter. The runway was in excellent shape, about 5,000 feet long and 125 wide, slick and hard. It was on a refrozen lead attached to the camp floe. Snow was scraped off, rather than dragged, with the use of tractors similar to small U.S. farm tractors. The first landing was made on 15 April while the aircraft was en route from Point Barrow to Fletcher's Ice Island T-3. The Soviet Drifting Ice Station was then at 76°40'N., 164°40'W., almost on a line between Point Barrow and T-3. The pilots decided to land at the Soviet station in part to encourage friendly relations between two groups engaged in comparable scientific research and combating the same austere environment and in part to satisfy a very human curiosity. Pilots Clifford Alderfer and Richard Dickerson, with their passengers from the Arctic Research Laboratory, Frank Spik, Al Magnuson, Simeon Akpik, and Loeb Wood, were cordially welcomed, and stayed from 1650 to 1830. ...