What follows is a summary of the most common acronyms and vocabulary used in the program.
ACL: Allowable Cabin Load – how much weight is allowed on a plane.
ALE: Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions – a tourist company offering a variety of trips to Antarctica and the South Pole.
AN-8: Type of fuel used in aircraft and diesel equipment (ex: Hercs, generators, tractors). A slightly different additive mix than JP-8. More common in the Arctic.
ANG: Air National Guard, the New York ANG does all the air logistics for the USAP and in Greenland.
Beaker: a scientist, grantee, or other researcher. Occasionally, and historically, used in a derogatory manor it can be used affectionately as well.
Boomerang: A flight that is re-routed back to it’s point of departure.
CHC or Cheech: Christchurch, New Zealand (our jumping off point for most of Antarctica).
CDC: Clothing Distribution Center (or where we get our ECW).
CONUS: Continental US, or Stateside.
Covax: A large screw hand-powered or mounted to a portable drill. Used to drill holes in ice or snow for flags.
CPS: CH2M Hill Polar Services – incorporates PFS, CH2M Hill (now Jacobs), SRI, and other subcontractors.
Deep Field: Anywhere outside of McMurdo, usually in West Antarctica (Siple, WAIS, Byrd, PIG, Thwaites etc).
Denver: The umbrella term to refer to non-seasonal employees and the corporate parent company and policies. “I don’t know why, but that’s the decision from Denver.”
DNF: Do Not Freeze – referring to cargo such as fresh food, liquids etc that cannot be left outside.
ECW: Extreme Cold Weather gear.
Field Camps: Any camps or bases other than Palmer, McMurdo, and South Pole Stations. (example: WAIS divide).
FNG: F** New Guy, pronounced “Fyngie” – a term used, sometimes affectionately, to describe those new to the program, or acting like it.
Freshies: Any fresh food – eggs, milk, fruits and veggies.
GA: General Assistant, DA or dining assistants are just about the only ones “lower” than the GAs. It is however, one of the best ways to get into the USAP and to get a taste for the wide variety of science and work that goes on at the stations as well as meeting just about everyone.
Haz or HazMat: Hazardous Materials.
Herc or Hercules: Ski equipped LC-130 Hercules planes used by the ANG and US Air Force to transport cargo and personnel to the South Pole.
HEO: Heavy Equipment Operators driving equipment from pisten bullys to CAT D-8s.
Jamesway: A portable, rigid frame, insulated tent.
JP-8: Type of fuel used in aircraft and diesel equipment (ex: Hercs, generators, tractors).
MCM: McMurdo Station or Mac Town.
Milvan: A shipping container often used as storage buildings.
Mogas: Motor Automotive Gasoline (if it doesn’t run on JP-8 it runs on mogas – ex: snowmobiles).
NPX: South Pole Station (I know, super obvious).
NSF: National Science Foundation.
Pallet: A portable platform, general metal, for handling/moving cargo. They clip into the floor of the LC-130 Hercs. Designated by the US military as 463L pallets.
PFS: Polar Field Services, providing science support in the Arctic.
PI: Primary Investigator – the senior representative of a research group.
Polie: A person working at the South Pole Station.
PQ: Physically Qualify (medical and dental checks)…much more involved for winter.
Put-in: Setting up a camp in the deep field, a put-in flight brings the first crew in to the site where they must establish communication with McMurdo, a heat source (camp stove), and shelter (a tent) before the plane can leave.
Retro: Returning cargo/pax.
Sastrugi: beautiful wave-like forms on the snow surface carved by the sun/wind.
Toast: Someone who’s burnt out (toasty, perma-toast).
USAP: United States Antarctic Program.
WINFLY: Winter Fly-in, the first flights and arrival of people to Antarctica after winter – usually in mid-August.
Winter-Over: Someone who has spent the winter season at one of the stations. At the South Pole this means late February to late October or early November with no flights.