As we progress with our supply drop preparedness in Ghana, we carried out a series of drops this weekend, witnessed by our Civil Aviation Authority.
The dropzone was identified using 6 tyres on a roughly 12m x 12m target. The approach to the drop zone was over the hangar at Kpong airfield, and the target around 40m away from the hangar, simulating a drop to a school playing field or park. 9 cannisters were dropped. 4 x 1kg sand non chuted, 4 x 1kg sand chuted and one comms pack containing a hi-vis vest and a working, switched on telephone. The chutes used were white plastic bags (from a supermarket). The idea of the chuted drop is to increase conspicuity and enhance orientation so that the cannister lands 'right way up'. The 1kg chute drops deployed fully, however, the lighter (300g) comms drop did not fully deploy.
Drop accuracy was good. The first two unchuted drops were well past target (about 35m past). Once the adjustment was made to the drop methodology (carried out at 100', 50kts) the next two non chuted drops were more accurate. One fell inside the target area and the other within 8m of the area.
The aircraft flew around 10m up wind of the target.
The chuted drops were more accurate. Two fell within, one just outside and one about 5m outside the drop zone. The comms drop fell 15m short of the drop zone.
The in aircraft selection of cannisters was much easier than imagined, there was no need to slacken the restraints and selection, drop and targeting was easy. The drop hatch is visible in the images below.
Overall, this was a successful test, indicating that lighter cannisters may benefit from some ballast.
The comms cannister, when opened, showed the telephone still working, with 2 missed calls noted on the screen, and fully functioning, as witnessed by the two GCAA inspectors present for the drop tests.
9G ZAF was piloted by Patricia Mawuli Nyekodi. Drops were conducted by Jonathan Porter. Ground Recording: Ciara Thompson, Juliet Kuruwaah, Hisham Ayoub.
We are now ready to drop message, comms, medical and other supply cannisters should the need arise - and have proved to the authorities that the CH701 can carry at around 40 cannisters per run. I am sure that the day will come when we actually use this system to assist with actual emergency conditions.
Next up: The 4 x 25kg bags of rice belly drop development... that will take a little longer, and has more cost implications...
find out more at http://www.medicineonthemove.org/