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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedThe Polar Pumpkin's Pit Stop at AirVenture
AirVenture 2009 will be the orange Cessna 185's first
  
Art Mortvedt and the Polar Pumpkin at the Geographic South Pole.
Art Mortvedt standing next to the Polar Pumpkin with the Polar Flight 90 expedition logo on the door.

The Polar Pumpkin, named for its color and its Antarctic missions, will be making its first trip to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009. Also known as Polar Flight 90 or North 90, South to North (N90SN), this orange, single-engine Cessna 185 is the only aircraft of its kind to land at the geographic South Pole.

This aircraft has been previously flown by great polar pilots such as Max Wenden and the late Giles Kershaw. Part of the coloration found on the Polar Pumpkin includes the names of Wenden and Kershaw, along with other former pilots. The present pilot and owner, Art Mortvedt, plans to land the aircraft at both Poles. He landed the Polar Pumpkin, at the South Pole on November 22, 1999 and plans to reach the North Pole in April 2010.

The purpose of the mission is to exhibit the applicability, expediency and economy of a ski-equipped, single-engine aircraft in polar expeditions. Mortvedt will take the solo flight across the Canadian Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territory, and the Province of Nunavut on his way to the North Pole. Mortvedt’s stop at AirVenture will allow attendees to view the Polar Pumpkin, as it will be parked in the new AeroShell Square’s "Western Extension," in front of the main entrance to Exhibit Hangar A.

The Polar Pumpkin may be equipped with lasers that will help Mortvedt find microscopic life living in the Arctic Ocean sea ice. This search will be the first airborne attempt to identify microbes in the Earth's cryosphere; and determine how they may affect the carbon budget of our planet as part of the airborne portion of Laser Induced Fluorescent Emission (L.I.F.E.) Expedition. This technique may one day apply in the search for life on Mars.

The Polar Pumpkin is equipped with long-range main fuel tanks, wing extensions, wing tip fuel tanks, radar altimeter, high frequency radio, dash mounted astro compass, belly pod, and an S-Tec 30 autopilot. In 2006, the aircraft was featured on Antarctica commemorative postage stamps in New Zealand.

Mortvedt said, "One of my goals with the Polar Flight 90 for L.I.F.E. Expedition is to show that just an average guy can make a significant scientific contribution using a simple, special tool, the Polar Pumpkin Cessna 185."

AirVenture 2009 will be Mortvedt's first visit to Oshkosh with the Polar Pumpkin, but not his first overall. Mortvedt has experienced AirVenture previously with his brother-in-law where he has enjoyed camping out with the home builders. This year, Mortvedt said, "I hope to share my enthusiasm and factual information about these amazing parts of the world with visitors."

Key members of the Polar Flight 90 for L.I.F.E. scientific team are Dr. Birgit Sattler of the University of Innsbruck (Austria) and Dr. Michael Storrie-Lombardi of the Kinohi Institute in California.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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