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Australian Pilot Stranded In Antarctica

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the should-have-used-AAA dept.

News 855

mirio writes "Australian Jon Johanson is currently stranded in Antarctica at the US McMurdo outpost. He was attempting a flight from New Zealand to Argentina via the South Pole when he encountered a headwind that caused him to burn more fuel and divert to the base. Now both the Americans and the New Zealanders there are refusing to sell him fuel. Jon's story is amazing. He has flown his homebuilt RV-4 around the world three times and to the North Pole. You can read about his trips around the world here."

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FPEE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687734)

First Post motherfuckers! UNET!

Re:FPEE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687738)

big fucking deal, douchebag. Where the fuck do you think you are, Yahoo?

Re:FPEE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687741)

go eat a cock, nerdfag

Re:FPEE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687782)

You fuckers are just jealous of him.
Go back to deepthroating horsecocks, trolls.

blah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687743)

They say they want to discourage tourism... (1, Insightful)

corebreech (469871) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687747)

and that that's the reason they won't sell him fuel, but damn, that's pretty inhospitable. Besides, subzero temperatures probably do a fair job of discouraging tourism anyways.

They should have sold him the gas, but for a high price.

Now what happens if he wants to stay with his plane and try to buy gas from the next shipment? If they act to prevent that, then I think they've crossed the line.

Who says that Antartica is theirs anyways?

Re:They say they want to discourage tourism... (5, Insightful)

goofballs (585077) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687761)

and that that's the reason they won't sell him fuel, but damn, that's pretty inhospitable.

inhospitable? the americans are providing him food and shelter, and the kiwis have offered to fly him out on the first available flight. additionall, they've offered to ship his plane out after him (at his cost). all in all, sounds pretty reasonable! =)

Re:They say they want to discourage tourism... (5, Insightful)

KrispyKringle (672903) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687765)

The Americans offered to house him and feed him, and the New Zealanders offered to ship his plane out at his expense. So its not as if he doesn't have options.

And their justification is not to be mean. It's that he should have made plans to begin with. It's not their job to be someone's backup plan, as they themselves pointed out.

Re:They say they want to discourage tourism... (2, Insightful)

johndiii (229824) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687774)

They refused to give him the fuel. No mention of him offering to pay for it.

Who says that Antartica is theirs anyways?

No one. But the fuel certainly is theirs. As is the food he is consuming, the shelter he is occupying, the plane that was offered to take him home at no cost, and the ship that would take his plane back to him later.

Re:They say they want to discourage tourism... (5, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687888)

They refused to give him the fuel. No mention of him offering to pay for it.

abc.net.au: [abc.net.au]

For the time being the Americans are giving him food and a couch in the refuelling shed to sleep on, but no fuel.

JON JOHANSON: I guess officialdom are afraid to be seen to be helping in case the hordes come down and invade and I can understand their decisions, I really can and I don't, I haven't asked for their help. All I would like to do is make a commercial transaction of fuel.
.theaustralian.news.com.au: [news.com.au]
AN Australian pilot remains stranded in the Antarctic after his government today failed to sway two of its greatest allies to sell him 400 litres of fuel....Mr Johanson needs 400 litres of fuel to return to New Zealand, but both US and NZ authorities have refused to supply it under a policy to discourage tourists to the base.

Re:They say they want to discourage tourism... (5, Informative)

brokenbeaker (267889) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687784)

Antarctica has been divided up since about the end of the 50s:

http://www.secretsoftheice.org/explore/treaty.ht ml

each country has a weird pizza like slice or claim...

http://www.atlapedia.com/online/maps/political/A nt arctica.htm

Re:They say they want to discourage tourism... (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687849)

I can draw lines on a map and "claim" it's mine too. Unless enough people recognize it, or I have enough power to act upon my claims I'm just plain crazy. The claims aren't real in any sense of the word. Antarctica is worthless to live on, and far to difficult to take advantage of its minerals. It's not even important as a tactical position AFAIK. How could it be when you can't even fly in/out 3-4 months of the year? Maybe even more?

There's probbably oil, but to get to it you first have to drill through miles and miles of ice, then you have to deal with the ice moving beneath you. Then if you solve all that you have to have your guys, and equipment survive in extremely harsh conditions. Oh, and then you have to get the oil out.

No one lays serious claims for Antarctica because it's (so far) worthless for anything but scientific investigations (which it's fairly valueable for).

Re:They say they want to discourage tourism... (5, Insightful)

Sunlighter (177996) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687854)

Discourage tourism? Hell, if I had a plane and knew how to fly it, I'd be tempted to fly down there and bring him some damn fuel. What if I did, and seven or eight other bright pilots got the same idea?

I can't think of a better way to cause "tourism" than to encourage a good Samaritan act like that...

Re:They say they want to discourage tourism... (-1, Flamebait)

spagnitz (676520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687890)

No one offering to voluntarily fly to (and land on) Antarctica could be be charcterized as a "bright pilot" imo.

Wow - the MPAA must be getting close (1)

Bill_Royle (639563) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687749)

Wait... that's Jon Johansen. For a moment I thought some serious retribution was going down :)

My name is John Johanson (-1, Offtopic)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687751)

I come from Visconsin,
I verk in da factory dere;
Ven I valk down da street,
All da people I meet,
Dey say, "Hello, vot's your name?"
And I say...

My name is John Johanson
I come from Visconsin,...

This is sheer stupidity (4, Insightful)

RedHatLinux (453603) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687752)

Sell the man the fuel. Christ keeping him there with free room and board is just as likely to encourage "tourism" as letting him finish his trip.

Besides tourism is fairly common in that part of the world anyway.

Too Late... (1, Funny)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687791)

http://www.iaato.org/
http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/About_Antarctica/touri sm.html

I guess some people already have tourism packages there.

Re:This is sheer stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687810)

Free room and board? Cool! I'll be on the next plane out. Sounds almost as good as American prison.

Re:This is sheer stupidity (-1, Troll)

Ignis Flatus (689403) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687823)

Being isolated from the rest of the world apparently blocks those penguin probers from grasping the reality of the situation. It's a Jerry Springer world here, and that guy just bought himself a backstage pass. If they'd just given him the damn fuel, we wouldn't be reading this on /. Everyday he stays there equates to ten more armchair quarterbacks coming to the conclusion that they could do it, yet not be so stupid as to go without extra fuel.

you know... (1)

Clever Pun (729719) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687753)

i recall hearing once that they don't let anyone into the antarctic base camp that they have if the person isn't registered with them ahead of time - i don't remember *where* i heard this, so take it with a grain of salt.

Standard practice (3, Informative)

johndiii (229824) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687755)

Is this standard practice for "adventurers": End up stranded somewhere through poor planning, and then expect someone else to bail him out and pay for it? Seems like it from the article. The bases did not refuse to sell him the fuel, they refused to give it to him. He could have offered to buy it, though the cost might be high - it's expensive to ship fuel to Antarctica and store it. Or he could have taken them up on their offer of a free flight home, with his plane to be shipped later.

And, of course, they're feeding and housing him for the time being.

Re:Standard practice (4, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687803)

The bases did not refuse to sell him the fuel, they refused to give it to him.

Do you have actual evidence for that statement? I find it pretty darned unlikely. Yes, the wording of the story is that the bases "refused to give him fuel" -- but one who refuses to sell something is also necessarily refusing to give it. The wording is ambiguous, and I'm quite confident that most native English speakers would agree with me on this one. So, since either definition can easily follow, let's play the "What's More Likely" game.

(1) - This guy who has enough money to build this experimental plane lets himself stay stranded because he'll only take fuel if someone gives it to him for free

or

(2) - He is in fact attempting to buy fuel (as one would from "a gas station", which the bases insist they are not) and the bases are unwilling to sell.

Well, you tell me: Which is more likely?

Re:Standard practice (5, Insightful)

Wwolmack (731212) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687819)

Dennis Miller says it quite well, but in a slightly different subject.

If you are going "adventuring", at least have a contingency plan.
I view professional extreme athletes with, at worst, mild puzzlement and, at best, genuine respect. But what pisses me off are the amateur extreme athletes, who don't just risk their own lives -- they make some park ranger, fireman, or cop risk his life to save them. Every time I see a soldier who enlisted so he could defend his country, end up having to put his neck on the line, rappelling off a helicopter to save some middle-aged hero-wannabe jagoff who skied 20 miles off the clearly marked trail just so he can have a better pickup line than, "Hey, baby, your place or my moms?", I can't help but hope that just this one time, the kid from the National Guard is going to change his mind and chopper away to get a well-deserved beer, but not before getting just close enough to shout, "Hey, asshole, Charles Darwin says hi."


-- Dennis Miller's rant from April 6th, 2001.

Re:Standard practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687841)

According to news here in Australia, he wanted to buy fuel, he was never begging for free fuel. And they still refused to sell any to him. The news services here are almost treating it as an international incident, considering the US and New Zealand are our allies.

He has some fuel left, so he may have to fly to another nearby Antartic base owned by another country, where they are willing to sell him fuel to get back.

Oh, and their housing they offered him consists of a couch in (ironically) the fuel shed, if I remember correctly.

Re:Standard practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687858)

> ...a couch in (ironically) the fuel shed...

I Think I would be waking up early, making a 'withdrawal' and getting out of there!

Re:Standard practice (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687861)

some people fly without enough fuel then need a small hand to get home. others start wars in iraq then bitch when people won't send billions of dollars and thousands of troops. which is worse?

Send him home third class (3, Funny)

Madsci (616781) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687756)

Why should the U.S. or New Zealand taxpayers have to front the bill for this guy's foolish lack of foresight? Send him home freight class... or make him wash dishes.

Re:Send him home third class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687811)

human decency

Re:Send him home third class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687853)

Why should the U.S. or New Zealand taxpayers have to front the bill for this guy's foolish lack of foresight?

It should be noted that Australia is regularly rescuing stupid yachtsman from other countries, for free.

They're just being dicks. (3, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687760)

Sell him the fuel at a VASTLY overinflated price, that would be more than enough to discourage tourism. And it would get him out of there ASAP.

I think $10 US/Gallon would be a fair stupidity tax.

Re:They're just being dicks. (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687775)

That's not so vast, considering the costs to ship the gas to Antarctica.

Re:They're just being dicks. (1)

Madsci (616781) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687779)

Given the costs of transport down there (and the excesses of U.S. bureaucracy), $10 is probably at or below cost. And if he's loaded enough to fly planes over antarctica, a couple of thou is a drop in the bucket.

Re:They're just being dicks. (1)

PeterGreen (463502) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687843)

He offered to pay a fair price, plus a $10,000 donation to further the science they're doing. So it's not the cost of the fuel that's worrying them.

Re:They're just being dicks. (4, Insightful)

divec (48748) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687881)

Sell him the fuel at a VASTLY overinflated price [...] I think $10 US/Gallon would be a fair stupidity tax.

LOL - my local garage charges US$5.28 per US gallon (actually GBP 0.80 / litre). For roadside callout, it can easily be double that. So $10 doesn't sound that outrageous for Antarctica.


OK, so we're being taxed the hell out of, apparently to cover the cost of roads. I just thought it was funny that your punitive rate actually sounds like quite a bargain here in Britain :-)

They're just being smart. (1)

pegr (46683) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687895)

You think he's having a tough time without fuel? Try being a researcher with perpetual frostbite who happens to know precisely how much fuel it takes to keep the equipment running until the next supply comes in. Should I lower my environmental temp 2 degrees for three months for this guy? Not on my life!

It's not like he can fill up a five gallon can and be on his way. This guy is going to need some serious juice to get back where he came from...

Why not lend him the gas? (5, Interesting)

nate nice (672391) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687772)

Give him his 100 gallons so he can get home and then have him fly the 100 gallons back to them, if it's physically possible for him to do this. Seems like they are being kind of rude to him, but then again they don't *have* to sell him their gas, I suppose. Thinking about it, the kind of people they seem to be, you would think they want him out of there as son as possible.

Safe from proseuction (1, Funny)

teklob (650327) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687773)

At least they can't re-try him for pirating DVD's if he's stranded somewhere. Maybe this is a good thing for him.

Is this really science? (2, Informative)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687777)

At a stretch it's exploration, but science? No fricking way. So why does Slashdot think of it as such?

OK, so he's flying a kit plane - but it's not a kit plane that he designed, is it? It's one that he bought from a company that sold hundreds of them.

So I'll ask again, how is this news for nerds or stuff that matters? If I bought and assembled a kit car then drove it across the Sahara desert would that make the science section of Slashdot? On what basis?

I'm not trying to diminish Jon Johanson's achievements, I'm only trying to establish how this is remotely worthy of inclusion in this forum. No doubt that's enough to get me modded down as flamebait.

Re:Is this really science? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687873)

Dude. Anime is even considered "stuff that matters" here. The bar is already set low...

What is there to see in Antartica? (4, Interesting)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687778)

And why do we have military bases there? They said they want to discourage tourism. This makes me want to go there and check it out.

Re:What is there to see in Antartica? (1)

l0tu53at3r (176637) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687906)

Agreed! Split the costs with me?

Re:What is there to see in Antartica? (4, Informative)

Vitus Wagner (5911) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687915)

These a scientific bases. That is why it is science and why it is matters.

US bases are run by military forces, Russian bases are run by Arctica & Antatrcica Scientific Research Institute, but both do the same things, and both practice exchange of researches since their founding in 50th.

I don't remember however, which authority runs New Zealand base, but I think it is not Army.

I'd hardly consider US military base an accomodation where Russian researcher can work for monthes in the middle of Cold War.

Reliability... (5, Interesting)

skogs (628589) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687780)

I know that there are some incredibly high performance and extremely technical aircraft available to the person with lots of money, skills, tools, and materials. These planes outperform commercial offerings, and provide the incredible sense of 'I built it myself' and 'I know everything there is to know about this aircraft'.

I feel these things about the computer systems that I build, and I appreciate the feeling. I also have a fetish for flying, and joined the Air Force to enjoy aircraft and being around them...even though my job is with computers.

Still, it stands out to me...I would not trust anything that I built to fly my ass down to the other end of the state...let alone over something as barren and deadly as the north/south poles.

It certainly takes a special kind of person to look at the plane that he built and say to himself "Yes, technically it can perform this task." and completely ignore the other voice in his soul saying "Although perhaps I should not force my luck."

I love flying, I really do. I love fixing aircraft and flying them. I also know not to try to fly over the damn south pole, north pole, or anywhere else that I might die in...assuming that I survive that 1 in 1,000,000,000 flight hours crash.

My gosh son. There is a reason that only military aircraft regularly fly over antarctica. Its because if it goes down...supposedly they can send another one...and...those people signed up to die in the service of their country.

There is one other person that I can think of with this mentality, and only one. Chuck Yeager. Perhaps this man should take his fearless and confident self down to the local recruiter and tell them he needs a new job as a test pilot.

Fuck'm (5, Insightful)

jaxon6 (104115) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687781)

Am I the only one who thinks the guy should be grateful to be alive? Hey, how about I go to Antarctica..., woop dee doo, woops, there's a bit of a headwind, wouldn't expect that in .. ANTARCTICA. Well, it's a good thing there's people smarter than me, I'm sure they'll save my ass for me. WHAT! I can't get gas!!! Well, no, I didn't plan ahead to possibly have gas shipped here, I figured I could just stop at an Exxon. I mean, there's Exxon all over Alaska, so why not here?

Anyways, fuck'm, he deserves the exact treatment they're giving him. And I bet they won't be charging him for the ride back, to boot.

Re:Fuck'm (2, Informative)

JohnnyKlunk (568221) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687818)

Fair comment. It seems every few months someone decides to sail/row/swim around the world solo.
When they arse the whole thing up they expect the Australian Navy [oceanrowing.com] to come and rescue them, putting a boat with 400 people off course for a week.

There's something kinda Lovecraftian about this... (4, Insightful)

bckrispi (725257) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687785)

While I sympathize with Johanson's situation, I can't help but think how the heck he got himself there. I can't imagine a trained, responsible pilot embarking on an "adventure" like this without
  1. Checking the weather report to see what direction the frickin wind is blowing.
  2. Planning for multiple contigencies before bad things happen
  3. Going on mapquest to find out which gas staions are on your route

Mod parent funny (0)

Xconnect (577318) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687899)

Yes, I mean even a hobbit has enough sense to consult mapquest [ooblick.com] !

Electricity == A Good Thing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687786)

You know, without electricty, things would be different. And not a good kind of different.

Aussie Aussie Aussie (1)

POds (241854) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687787)

You'd think it would be very "Australian" for the Australian government to help out another Australian in his time of need. Why doesnt the Aussie government go and collect him? Does it have to do with what province he landed upon? Who cares? Australians should do it. Or maybe because the Australians rescued someone from britian (tony buliiblabla?) the Australian government says to england/britan, ok, you'r turn now, even thought this has nothing to do with them. That'd still be funny to see!

tourism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687788)

What would it take to send him the fuel that is being refused. I don't blame him for not wanting to leave his plane. Refusing him fuel to discourage others from going. Reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw today that said, "Growth destroys [insert city here]" only if it is someone else's growth I guess.

No contingency plan? (2, Insightful)

Howzer (580315) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687790)

So, he runs into some strong unexpected headwind, and is able to land at a base that's really close to another base.

And the reason he's being denied fuel is because he had "no contingency plan".

Sounds like typical government double-speak to me. The contingency plan was obviously to land near the bases if he got too much headwind.

Now, they've got enough space on their ships to transport his plane home (at his cost) but they don't have enough fuel to sell him (at his cost).

Why am I not believing anything the NZ govt. spokespersons are saying?

Re:No contingency plan? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687815)

> Now, they've got enough space on their ships to transport his plane home (at his cost) but they don't have enough fuel to sell him (at his cost).

> Why am I not believing anything the NZ govt. spokespersons are saying?

Because if you'd bothered to RTFA, you'd have seen no mention of the word "sell" in there; the word is give, as if he expected to get it for free.

i he should do what i do (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687795)

If I have less than 220 miles on my current tank of gas, I can get home from work. So I can get lazy and instead get gas in the morning before work.

I would also like to mention that I have been smoking weed tonight, and I am going to smoke some more in a minute or too.

i love smoking pot it is really fun. it helped me to forget about my girlfriend which decided to be a mean bitch and leave me. i have also been clinically depressed, but when i can fprget about her i can do other things.

Re:i he should do what i do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687886)

do you live in another state from where you work?
maybe you need to lay off the tweed there, buddy...

Nice was to make more enemies.... (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687797)

And Australia even supported the US in the Iraq war. What has the US gained but some bad publicity? Maybe they should make him wait a while as a penalty, but sell the poor guy some fuel. Isn't that just the decent thing to do?

Yah, he should have planned ahead and gotten permission to have someone sell him fuel ahead of time, true. But if you're the only guy around for miles and you refuse to help someone out (and you can) you just look like a jerk. It's not as if this is a continuing problem, and every week there's some yahoo who needs to buy fuel because he was a dumb-ass.

Someone please tell me there's more to this story so I can feel a little better about the folks down in McMurdo.

Re:Nice was to make more enemies.... (-1, Troll)

kevcol (3467) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687850)

WTF does this have to do with a scientific research station run by SCIENTISTS? It aint an arm of the State Department just like a lone private flier isn't representing the AUS govt, and since you decided to dump on the US, why did you leave out NZ?

Re:Nice was to make more enemies.... (-1, Redundant)

Dylan2000 (592069) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687883)

WTF does supporting the US in the war have to do with this? You went there because your government thought it was the right thing to do, right? Not because you wanted to use it as some kind of guilt trip or bargaining chip in the future... right?

Re:Nice was to make more enemies.... (-1, Flamebait)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687911)

It's about maintaining friendly relations with your allies of course. McMurdo is a US government run base. Its actions directly reflect on the US Government. Denying fuel to an Australian citizen sends a bad message that the US government doesn't seem to care about anyone. I'd still diagree with it, but it'd make a bit more political sense if it was a French or German citizen that McMurdo wouldn't sell fuel too.

Oz Dot (-1, Offtopic)

POds (241854) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687799)

G'day and welcome to the Australian Slashdot, news for nerds stuff that mattahs

Re:Oz Dot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687896)

What a pity it would be if Americans learnt something about another country.

Australia.... that's in Europe right? Do you speak American there?

If you want a good antartic adventure story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687801)

You should check out shackelton [south-pole.com]

NZ is calling him a freeloader and bad planner (2, Interesting)

MarkTina (611072) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687805)

This has been on the news for the past couple of days down here, news say that he didn't do much forward planning or contact any of the organisations in antarctica before hand to let them know what he was going to do ... it's probably this that annoys them most, having to rescue him because they didn't have a chance to advise him beforehand.

Got to admire his sense of adventure though :-)
Maybe next year I'll get a chance to do an antarctic fly by.

Transporting gas to Antarctica is expensive (1)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687807)

It'd be a major undertaking just to get gas to Antarctica in the first place, they wouldn't keep large reserves, and even if they did sell it to him at a high price... It would still be a major problem for the base. Did I mention transporting things to Antarctica was EXPENSIVE? It's not like they have massive facilities to store fuel there anyway, they wouldn't have reserves, and if they sold him gas they'd have to transport more gas out there. Major inconvenience for the base.

Re:Transporting gas to Antarctica is expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687910)

My, such subtle insightful points! I would never have realised it might be more expensive to get fuel in Antarctica.

Come on guys, mod him up!

The Mountains of Madness (1)

Galaga88 (148206) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687809)

The real reason they want to keep people out of there, is The Mountains of Madness [hplovecraft.com] , of course.

They're keeping us safe from ourselves.

Re:The Mountains of Madness (1)

zenith744 (210415) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687870)

"The real reason they want to keep people out of there, is The Mountains of Madness, of course."

Are those like the Cliffs of Insanity?

Who do they think they are? (1)

James Lewis (641198) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687814)

It seems like those in Antartica feel the only "true" explorers are those funded by governments. How arrogant of them to call a person who has flown around the world three times in his own plane a "tourist". I sure hope there is a better explaination, because it is hard to believe that both groups in Antartica could have their perceptions skewed so far from reality.

Re:Who do they think they are? (1)

Sumairp (731831) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687830)

There are two dopes in this matter:- 1. Johansen 2. NZ Air Traffic/Immigration Johansen should not have left NZ without a contingency plan and the NZ Authorities (which one?) should not have permitted the flight without an approved contingency plan. Let him spend Xmas down there. He deserves it.

impounded for what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687816)

So they're basicly impounding his $20k-$30K aircraft. The cost to crate and ship his plane
probably exceed it's value. So, in effect, they are confiscating his property in order to make their
point... pretty shitty

Re:impounded for what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687898)

bullshit.
he should have planned some way to get more fuel if he needed to make an emergency landing.
he is a dumbass.

How (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687824)

How exactly is this story related to 'news for nerds'? Is Michael friends with this guy or something??

Darwin says "Hi" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687827)

This is so typical of amateur extreme athletes whose irresponsible thrill-seeking endangers the lives of park rangers, firefighters and cops:
"Every time I see a soldier who enlisted so he could defend his country having to put his neck on the line, rappelling off a helicopter to save some middle-aged hero-wannabe jagoff who skied twenty miles off the clearly marked trail just so he could have a better pick-up line ... I can't help but hope that just this one time, the kid from the National Guard is going to change his mind and chopper away to get a well-deserved beer, but not before getting close enough to shout: 'Hey, $%$%#%@#, Charles Darwin says hi.' "
- Dennis Miller

I really am sick of these A-holes that risk their lives for "adventure" and expect someone to bail their sorry asses out (and risk the rescuer's ass) when the adventure goes wrong. You know why we are all impressed with Sir Edmond Hillary? Because he could have died and no one was going to bail him out. He knew it and he went anyway. This "I am going to do something stupid and dangerous, and if things go wrong the rescuers will bail me out" attitude is another symptom of our modern Nanny-state. Mom will fix all my problems.

Don't feel too bad for this guy. He already has offers for 3 (count 'em three) flights home [smh.com.au] .

Re:Darwin says "Hi" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687865)

How is this guy amateur? Or an 'extreme' athlete? Or even irresponsible?

He's flown around the world 3 times.
How are the 'rescuers' risking their lives?

By not selling him gas?

Hmm. Your posts need work.

Re:Darwin says "Hi" (1)

kramer2718 (598033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687885)

Not all extreeme athletes expect to be bailed out. Aron Ralston was a rock climber who had a boulder land on his arm trapping him. Did he decide to lay there and die. No. He broke his arm and then cut it off with a dull knife in order to free himself. Not particularly relevant to the Jon Johansen case, but very impressive.

Re:Darwin says "Hi" (1)

fmlug.org (695374) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687908)

I was thinking about nominating this guy for a Darwin award, but then I figured maybe we should keep him around. His kids could be very helpful to the future, I mean after all someone needs to say "Would you like fries with that?"

time to hunt penguin... (1)

E8086 (698978) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687832)

If you brough enough food and fuel for your party to last a given amount of time in a rather unhospitable place would you give/sell it to some random person who stopped by if it meant you may not be able to get home?

Now would be the time to learn to hunt the local penguin species.
That will provide him with some food and maybe a penguin coat or two allowing him to not starve and stop being a freeloader on the resident Americans and New Zealanders.
Then he can try modifying his plane to run on penguin fat and other combustable penguin materials.

Re:time to hunt penguin... (1)

kramer2718 (598033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687868)

Not only that, he might get a nice bounty on the pelts from Gates and Co.

Press Release on the Subject (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687834)

MEDIA RELEASE 10 DECEMBER 2003

Jon Johanson sets new Polar Flight record

On Monday 8 December, Australian pilot, Jon Johanson became the first pilot to fly a homebuilt, single engine aircraft over the South Pole. It is believed that he is also the first person ever to fly a fixed wing aircraft solo over the South Pole on a long distance flight.

Jon set this new world record during a non-stop flight from Invercargill, New Zealand to overfly the South Pole before landing at the joint US(McMurdo) / NZ (Scott )Base in Antarctica.

He flew his special RV-4 aircraft, call sign VH-NOJ, that he has already flown three times around the world including over the North Pole.

His aircraft was modified for this history-making flight with a specialised engine and increased fuel capacity.

The total flight distance was 3,345 nautical miles and took 26.5 hours.

The flight has taken years of planning. Jon is delighted to have made it this week, in time for the centenary of powered flight on 17 December 2003.

Jon's flight is an amazing effort, worthy of recognition in the history of aviation as a true endurance flight in an experimental aircraft. He has re-created the pioneering spirit that led to that first powered flight a 100 years ago.

Jon left his home town of Adelaide South Australia quietly on Saturday morning for a 10 hour flight to Invercargill, New Zealand.

Jon took off for his record flight on Sunday, at 5.30pm Adelaide time (8pm in New Zealand). He planned to fly direct from Invercargill to the Antarctic, over the South Pole and then to Ushuaia in Argentina.

But headwinds were much stronger than forecast. With airports few and far between in the Antarctic, Jon changed his destination to fly to McMurdo after overflying the South Pole. Jon remains at McMurdo /Scott Base unable to depart until he can get more fuel. The Australian Government is currently negotiating with relevant US/NZ authorities to assist.

Last week Jon made a final test flight, setting a new class record Round Australia, flying the designated course from Adelaide via Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, Darwin, Port Hedland (fuel stop), Carnarvon, Perth and back to Adelaide. His elapsed time was 38.5 hours which included only one stop of 1.5 hours. This record breaking flight was just one of the flights in the extensive test program undertaken during the planning for the flight over the South Pole.

All the work on Jon's aircraft was done at Parafield Airport in South Australia, mostly self-funded by Jon with some help from a few key sponsors who were willing to support Jon's vision with their products and services.

Photos of Jon are available on http://users.senet.com.au/~jonj/photos.html

Troll (1)

Neuroelectronic (643221) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687836)

The north poll sucks.

I know what this is... (1)

CanadaDave (544515) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687837)

An advertisement for Van's aircraft, disguised as a story about a guy stuck in Antarctica.

He has only himself to blame... (1)

zeekiorage (545864) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687838)

NZ Herald has an article [nzherald.co.nz] about this, from the article...
Today Antarctica New Zealand told NZPA no one knew Mr Johanson was coming and he had done nothing about contingency plans for refuelling or emergency plans, including search and rescue had he been forced down.

Bold adventurer, my ass,... (0, Funny)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687845)

...he was smuggling pirated DVDs to Norway! It's right out of a Scooby Doo episode!

Love actually (-1, Offtopic)

KoolDude (614134) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687846)


Actually, his homebuilt RV-4 was Linux powered and Tux decided to meet up with Adelie [gdargaud.net] on the way. :)

Spirit (1)

Quirk (36086) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687852)

Granted he should have had the foresight and planning in place to deal with foreseeable contingencies, but the spirit of adventures like Francis Chichester [gileschich...mep.org.uk] , Richard Halliburton [classicadv...ebooks.com] , Richard Burton [isidore-of-seville.com] and others is a staple of our lore. Maybe the world has grown to small to make allowances.

my 2 cents on this (1)

Indy1 (99447) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687856)

rather interesting story, one with lots of good morals inside it.

I think the guy planned quite poorly considering he was overflying the south pole. One shouldnt indulge in such a journey without making some serious contingency plans.

On the other hand, I think both the US and NZ governments are being a bit of an ass. I would imagine selling him 100 gallons of fuel for a fairly high price (i'm sure its not cheap to bring in there, plus call it a stupidity tax) isnt a major strech on their part. But then bureacrats never seem to have a problem picking the worst possible solution :)

What the fuck (2, Insightful)

baadfood (690464) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687859)

What the fuck is wrong with you people? Are your souls dead? Are you so satisfied in your insulated safe little lives, so dependent on the government and society in general providing youwith a safety net that you cannot concive stepping out of it? Going so far as to insult someone who does? So shut the fuck up. He HAD a contingency plan. It was "There are bases there with air strips I can land at". Its the same contigency plan I have every day when I leave for work. I understand that if I am involved in an accident and am incapacitated, that total strangers will actually stop and help.

One thing I don't understand about this... (2, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687871)

Why didn't he just contact those guys in Antarctica (or someone that could in turn contact them) so he was sure that it would be ok with them if he needed some help out there.

Sure, it might be silly of them to not offer fuel, but maybe they have their reasons to why they aren't doing that, but offering him a trip home as an alternative solution. Can't really blame them with a guy at least as silly, going to Antarctica and relying on people's hospitality when he could have used his brain a little before going there. It doesn't take a genius to understand that maybe you should check if there's anyone there to help if you'd happen to crash on one of the most inhospitable places on earth. He should be glad everything got sorted out so well, with them giving options to get home and also offering him a place to stay while waiting for it. That's a perfectly reasonable solution to me.

Stranded in Antarctica? (1)

Teddy Beartuzzi (727169) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687872)

Better keep an eye on the dog and the Doctor, and keep a flamethrower handy.

Sell him the gas (1)

fmlug.org (695374) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687879)

Let the US do it. Just make sure the sell is from the closest 7-11 in the US then give him a gas can and tell him to walk his ass there and get it.

Interview... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687884)

Here is a radio interview [abc.net.au] with him, and the point of view of another Australian adventurer [abc.net.au] .

From what I see, the Americans are being pretty unreasonable and the New Zealanders are basically having to do a bit of arse licking with the Americans as of late, as being an ally equates to bending over, as far as the current US government is concerned.

typical (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687891)

Just another typical stupid Australian, They're almost as bad if not worse them the Americans.

Search and Rescue (1)

flyingman (230455) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687893)

The BBC story saying he has no 'contingeny plan' and not cared about 'Search & Rescue'. If the pilot doesn't care about S&R in remote areas, he has done poor planning. Considering any emergeny which forces him to land away from any base as unlikely is just dump. I've read Impact Erebus [amazon.com] by Gordon Vette [moller.com] which is about the story of the Air New Zealand DC-10 which near McMurdo in 1978. Even a Search & Rescue operation close to McMurdo was incredibly complicated and no one wants to search a crashed pilot when it's even unlikely to find him (he hasn't told anyone) and it's unlikely for him to survive. I'm not surprised that people don't encourage him to continue. Besides ... he has probably landed his airplane at cMurdo [christchurch.org.nz] Williams Field [worldaerodata.com] . There is no such thing as a runway at the New Zealand base, the only other runways down there are the Pegasus Field and the Ice Runway [worldaerodata.com] both located a few miles away on the shelf ice. fm

Hi. I'm a Dick! (1)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687900)

"The US actually don't run a gas station in Antarctica... and nor does New Zealand," Antarctica New Zealand Chief Executive Lou Sanson told the Associated Press news agency.

Sell him the gas at a markup, give him a bill for the food and shelter, and call it a day. No reason to be dicks about it; you din't have to pull him out of the water, or track him down on some ice floe.

He landed at your base.

Shit, if it was Peter Jackson, you'd be asking if he'd like his massage with full release at 3 or 4 pm...

Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687902)

Heres a solution: Start an auction and whoever the lowest bidder is can fly him a shipment of fuel.

It might not be cheap, but it sounds like shipping a plane out would be more expensive than shipping fuel in.

wait.. i know this story (0)

Rambo, John J. (633310) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687903)

it was actually a SWISS base next to the americans. and the guy in the plane was shooting at a dog, that got away before he blew himself up.

that american base has about 3 days to figure this one out.

What was he thinking? (1)

wickedsteve (729684) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687904)

They are not a freaking gas station and I am sure their resources are very limited.

Makes me wonder... (1)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687912)

I found the links to the treaty regarding Antartica, and it appears as if no country is in complete control. So, if I wanted to go and tour, can I just rent a plane and go? What if I found some inverstors who thought Antartica was the next big tourist spot, and they wanted to invest thier money building a resort there? Could that be done? Who would you buy the land from, or is this like the wild west, where you just pick a spot and say "MINE".

A lousy 104 gallons of gas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687914)

What arrogant SOB's the stations are to not sell him some gas.

Real discourgament (1)

freidog (706941) | more than 10 years ago | (#7687916)

Maybe they should give him the gas.
Then send a bill to him for the full cost of making a special delivery to replenish exactly what he took.
Maybe a 5 figure gas bill would to more to discourage morons like this than free room and board.
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