Kenn Borek’s Lidia Flies Home

Lidia, a Basler BT-67, was extensively repaired on the Holtanna glacier in Antarctica and flown back to Calgary.

Lidia, a Basler BT-67, was repaired on the Holtanna glacier in Antarctica and flown back to Calgary.

One of the most impressive aircraft recovery efforts ever undertaken was completed successfully in January and a fascinating web video of it was posted by Don Wray, an Alaska outfitter who was on the support crew.

Lidia, a Basler BT-67 operated by Kenn Borek Air, of Calgary for Antarctic Logistics Centre International, was heavily damaged in a takeoff accident on the Holtanna Glacier in Antarctica on Dec. 20, 2012. The aircraft hit a hidden ice fissure and the gear collapsed and the props tore away.

After some head scratching, Kenn Borek decided the aircraft could be repaired and flown off the glacier. After more than 40 days of concentrated effort, Lidia pulled herself out of the hole in the glacier under her own power and then took off to resume her productive life.

The preceding weeks involved an inspiring mix of grit, ingenuity and consummate skill as the Kenn Borek technicians installed a new cockpit section, repaired gaping holes in the rest of the airframe, installed new landing gear and prop gear.

The crew fought storms and numerous other challenges to raise the aircraft and ultimately fly it away. It was flown to Calgary in January of this year, spent the winter in a cozy hangar, and will be deployed back to Antarctica for the next season.