The Lansing Snowplane

by Graham Chambers - 1974

In 1974, with Brian Jones as BC, a vehicle was dug up and lifted out of the snow which might have been the Lansing Snowplane. I remember it for some reason as the Faireyplane, because I suppose I thought it had been made by Fairey aviation. It was an aluminium two seater cabin shaped rather like a raindrop seen sideways. It was set upon a pair of skis, the front part of which turned by means of a steering wheel. On the top of the rear part (the thin end of the raindrop, if you like) was mounted an engine, attached to which was a propellor. To my recollection, it was not an aero engine (i.e. rotary), but a straight 4 or maybe 6 cylinder petrol engine.

It took quite a while to dig out and it was then refurbished and it worked!

It went at tremendous speed, but was pretty uncontrollable and very uncomfortable over hard sastrugi. Some of us, including me, actually ski-jored behind the thing, which was dreadful because visibility was zero due to the intense drift it kicked up. (It was fun though).

The amusing thing was that it completely changed the local weather. Driving it round and round the base on a clear cold either spring or autumn day thoroughly mixed up the air which usually exhibited a very sharp thermal inversion within 10 metres of the bundu. The base was very soon completely swathed in advective fog, and our weather therefore jarred completely with that of the rest of the Coats Coast, which was completely dingle.

It might even be possible to find the exact date of this by analysing the met records to find this anomaly.

[22 July 2005]

The Lansing snowplane
"The Lansing snowplane being pulled out from the bundu after being located and dug out in 1974. Left is, I think, Andy Moinet, middle Richard (Rigor) Hewitson, the electrician and at right is John McClure."
Picture by Graham Chambers

See also comments by
Keith Gainey, Julian Rouse and Dale Heaton.
10 January 2006
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