Each of the flights had on board one of the following seven Antarctic experts as an in-flight commentator. These men provided passengers with a detailed “guided tour” – naming the prominent landmarks along the route – and shared insights into the Antarctic’s geology, history and environmental conditions.



Sir Edmund Hillary

  • In 1957-58 traversed overland, via tractor, to the South Pole.

Peter Mulgrew

  • Member of Hillary’s Antarctic expedition in 1957-58.

Robert Thomson

  • Head of the DSIR’s Antarctic Division since 1965.
  • Former scientific leader of the joint US-NZ base at Cape Hallett.
  • In 1961 led a 900-mile trek from the US-Australian Wilkes base to the Russian’s Vostok base.
  • Veteran of 45 trips to Antarctica.

Dr Trevor Hatherton

  • Chief scientist for Hillary’s Antarctic expedition in 1957-58.
  • Chose the site for Scott Base.
  • Director of DSIR’s Geophysics Division.

James Chaffin

  • Veteran Christchurch journalist – had interviewed Admiral Richard Byrd.
  • Visited Antarctica twice.
  • In 1963 visited Washington on a US State Department grant to study Antarctic affairs.
  • President of the New Zealand Antarctic Society.

Sir Holmes Miller

  • Deputy leader of the 1957-58 Hillary expedition – preceded Hillary’s tractors with a dog-sled team.

Chilling, with hindsight, is this snippet from the Bob Thomson’s commentary for the flight of 15 February 1977: “We’re on the reverse side, really, of a white-out condition, and that is when the sun’s rays bounce back off a cloud cover. Usually this is a real difficult problem when you’re underneath the cloud. Today it’s a problem because we’re above it and we’re getting about 99% reflection from the white continent.” 22

Photograph and caption from Jetaway magazine, November 1978, page 17.