Watcha Mikey... I looked into this when I was trying to get funding for a PhD with the BAS. I think they were only recruiting pilots with 5,000 h + at that point. Their aircraft are difficult to miss - lovely flourescent paint scheme. They operate Twotters and I think they have a Dash-7. Have a look at: http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/ Send me a postcard!
you might want to read "Notes on Antarctic Aviation" by Dr. Melcom Mellor, published in Aug 1993 by the CRREL (Cold Regions Research & Engineering Laboratory of the US Army Corps of Engineers).
It covers just about everything, history of Antarctic aviation, aircraft types in use, runways and runway preparations, snow types, airfields, navigation, hazards, pilot experience, fuel, typical approach and area charts, typical missions and operations, maintenance and much more. Excellent reading on 158 pages.
A former colleague of mine is currently employed as a pilot for BAS. I'm sure he wouldn't mind answering any questions you have directly. He is out of the country at the moment - but If you send me your private e-mail address I'll see If I can put you in touch.
I've always been fascinated by the Polar regions too. If you can, get hold of "Forty Years On Ice" by Charles Swithinbank. It tells of his life as a polar researcher and has great chunks on flying in Antarctica.
He did quite a bit of flying with the late Giles Kershaw and there is a section on the development of the blue icefield landing grounds.
I have "Around the World in 80 Days" and "Pole to Pole" on VHS.
Hoping they will become available on DVD as the tapes are just about worn out.
Michael Palin flew to and from the North Pole in a Twin Otter. At the other end of the journey he flew from Punta Arenas, Chile to Patriot Hills, Antarctica in a DC-6 (with normal undercarriage) and from there to the South Pole in a single turbine Otter.
It's amazing stuff, and although I now know almost every shot in the video and every word in the script, I get a buzz every time I watch it.
I worked for BAS as a Field Assistant and guide for the scientists for 18 months about 13 (seems like yesterday) years ago. And that was where I got bitten by the flying bug: part of our remit was to go as Pilots' Assistant to pour the coffee, dig out the fuel drums at remote depots and baby sit the pilots. Would you believe one guy came down (really good pilot) who had never seen snow before. Then he landed in the Antarctic: a baptism of, well, not fire, but you see where I'm going!
Suffice to say, I enjoyed that bit of the job so much I chucked in the guiding contract which had originally been for 30 months and came North again to go and get my licence.
Don't think about it too much, don't read too much about other peoples experiences, just go and make it your own adventure. You will never regret it, and probably never stop talking about it!
BBC's "Life in the Freezer" with Sir David Attenborough is a fantastic series on "the ice". It is available in Video and DVD.
I was fortunate enough to spend 4 weeks flying him and the film crew around Antarctica (by helicopter) - including getting some footage into the crater of Mt Erebus. And a few Gin and Sodas in the Scott Base bar!
If you can get the chance, drop everything and take it.........