Zenith STOL CH 701 Air Drops help African communities grow...

Those who know what we do will remember that we are authorised to drop health education materials to rural communities using our specially modified, Rotax 912iS powered, STOL CH 701 aircraft.  As part of this we made the first ever aerial supply drops into the Afram Plains last week.  This part of Ghana, in West Africa, is isolated, but easy to fly over.  The 100km (about 60mile) line of sight flight from our airfield is pretty quick - or you can take 12 hours or more by road.  To reach the communities without roads you would add days to your travel time.  By air we can visit many in a matter of hours, and are only held back by our load capacity of the 701 (hence we are working towards a CH750!).  

As part of the first drops Red Bull were filming for a documentary about some of the work that we do (to be released later this year), and took a camera crew into one of the villages.   What made it more interesting was that several villages had come together, so we exceptionally dropped multiple times to the same community... (normally we drop just once, and bob up and down over the area, dropping in a pattern to the communities - we are about to start dropping to nearly ONE THOUSAND locations in the coming months, funds permitting!)

This provided some interesting data and images, that we are happy to share with our Zenith friends.  You will note that the aircraft runs a circuit pattern down to 200' and has to avoid trees and other obstacles whilst targeting a zone of about 50' diameter (usually the middle of a playing field, or durbar ground) - we have well over 90% success in hitting the zone each time!

The air speed is dropped to less than 50kts at the moment of drop, and you can see here the manifold, temperature, ground speed, track and engine speed read outs - it really is a workout for the pilot (in this case the 701 was flown by Patricia Mawuli and had Lydia Wetsi as drop master - I flew the spotter plane to monitor and capture data).  To become proficient at drops like this takes many hours, and is not for the faint hearted - if anything goes wrong you are eating trees!

The crowd on the ground are known to actually catch the specially packaged and dropped materials that would take many days to send (and often not get there at all) by any other means.... and with over 6 million children at risk of Schistosomiasis in our area, we take our work seriously!

If you would like to help us make more drops and support us towards our next step to the CH750, please consider making a donation.  You can send funds directly to Zenith, marked simply 'Medicine on the Move', or via our website: medicineonthemove.org, and it will move us steps closer to reaching more communities, changing more lives and all done through training West Africans to build planes, fly planes and take support to other West Africans - sustainably... just a little bit of help goes a long way.  

Thank you all in advance.

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Comment by Jonathan Porter on March 31, 2013 at 1:22am

Thank you, Ralph and Tim!  Patricia and I hope to be at Oshkosh this year, funds permitting, and hope to see all of the Zenith Family members!  We are speaking at AERO in Germany in April, and hope to get a similar opportunity at Oshkosh.  The EAA is part of the AERO event.   We hope to be able to show the Red-Bull documentary at Oshkosh too, as well as the Chinese TV documentary - we hope to be able to share with you our experiences personally, and to thank you in person for your support and encouragements!

Comment by Tim Garrett on March 30, 2013 at 8:34am
Jonathan, truly great work you are doing. It humbles me to see what a difference you can make with a "homebuilt" airplane. It was an honor to meet you, Patricia and Lydia at Oshkosh last year. Can't wait to see the Red Bull film! Safe flight!
Comment by Ralph Terpstra on March 18, 2013 at 11:10am

What an amazing combination of technology, personal flying skill, caring about others to help, dedication and medical supplies, to make a huge difference to so many people in this part of the world! Just love this kind of ministry!


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