At the end of the summer flying season, with the last A319 flight taken flight — Wilkins Aerodrome infrastructure and machinery are moved from their summer location to be put in hibernation for the winter months.
The aviation wintering over team, consisting of Jeff H, Scott N, Dean A and Jeff R, along with Will VW, started the task immediately after the flight departed on 11 March. With support and assistance from the other Casey winterers the pack-up period, which was extended, is now complete.
All the runway markings and lighting are stored away, with the maintenance facility (garage) housing equipment and then the transportable buildings ‘winterised’ from snow ingress and then moved to their winter location. Doug (communications) and Emery (Bureau of Meteorology) travelled to Wilkins to winterise the communications and meteorological equipment. The smaller buildings on sleds go onto the winter berm, whereas the larger structures — mess, accommodation, operations and the garage — are placed on blue ice to help negate snow accumulation around them over the winter period.
The mess is the last building to be winterised with the great help of Chris ('C&N Plumbing') and Ben W ('Switched on Electrical') from Casey.
Once this has been achieved the machinery that needs winter servicing and maintenance is transported down the road, approximately 70 kilometres to Casey.
At this time of the year the weather is a little unpredictable and the temperatures start to retreat. There are also some amazing sights, whether it be at night with the crystal clear skies or the spectacle that the sun provides with different weather phenomena. Some windless days certainly help the cause however there were some days where it was bitterly cold: −25°C with 40 kts (do the math — brrrr, cold)