A Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion has landed at the United States' McMurdo Station in Antarctica to pick up an ill American.

The Orion, which left at first light today, is expected to take off by 1.30pm for the six-hour return flight.

American authorities made the evacuation request on Friday and a plane first left for Antarctica on Saturday but returned a few hours later after receiving reports of blizzards at McMurdo Station. Sunday's effort was also put off because of strong winds.

Antarctica New Zealand communications advisor Matt Vance told NZPA the Orion was on the ground at McMurdo Station, where the temperature was minus 35degC but the weather was fine.

Raytheon Polar Services runs the station for the US National Science Foundation. Its New Zealand operations manager Kerry Chuck said the man was suffering from an illness rather than an injury.

It was believed his condition had not really changed since the evacuation request was first made, despite the weather-imposed delays.