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Que Sera Sera — first aircraft on the South Pole

3 August 2011

Que Sera Sera — first aircraft on the South Pole

LCDR Shinn piloted this R4D, named Que Sera Sera, to a landing on the South Pole, the first. It was an extraordinary mission with a planned stay lasting less than an hour — time enough to unload and set up navigation equipment for future supply missions to erect a science station.  The challenge lay with the South Pole’s altitude in the vicinity of 10,000 feet (3030m), which is thin air for wanting to bring a normally aspirated R4D back into the air. For this reason several JATO bottles had been attached to the fuselage before the flight to provide a rocket assisted kick to get the Que Sera Sera quickly up to rotation speed for departure from the pole. But life is exciting on the snow and she was held fast after settling in during the brief time on the South Pole. Shinn expertly calculated how many JATO bottles would be used to get the aircraft unstuck, then activated the rest once Que Sera Sera was moving freely across the snow and ice.

Que Sera Sera is on display at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola FL.

The USN Douglas R4D known as the Que Sera Sera at the National Naval Aviation Museum — photo by Joseph May

Skis, this ski is is on the starboard main gear,allowing for Antarctic Operations — photo by Joseph May

Information for this post came from this site dedicated to the Que Sera Sera — and there is much more to read and to see there.

* a post on the National Naval Aviation Museum, as well as many of the exhibited aircraft there, can be found by pasting the museum name into the search window and selecting ENTER

One Comment leave one →
  1. 27 August 2011 14:51

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