Airdrop--December 2007

dropping things

Unlike last year, this airdrop concentrated on more and smaller packages, as seen above. During the 19 December event (postponed for a day) the C17 (above, GG) made 4 passes, dropping 10 pieces of cargo from about 1000 feet on each of the first two passes. It finished up with a 300' low pass fly-by of the station.

things are dropping fast

This time (EG), the packaging was different--these were individually packed cartons of food, about 1000 lbs each, with only one small high-velocity parachute, and a foot of honeycombed cardboard to soften the landing. The training exercise here is to prepare to be able to do this if necessary in midwinter. I hope not. For THIS exercise, the weather was very nice--clear, -15F, and very little wind.

call the shots

Here's the USAF drop zone controller calling the shots (USAF/GC).
air supply

A closer view of the cargo in the air (GG)...
box, one each
...and on the surface (TH).
signature required for delivery

A closer look at the box and the signatures from the Air Force crew (USAF/GC).
minor broccoli damage
Chutes strung out on the ground (USAF/GC).
plane truth
Here's the C-17 Globemaster III responsible for this evolution (GG).
The drop accuracy was rather amazing...the first package landed within 20 feet of the target, and the rest were within 100 yards. There was a bit of damage--one box landed atop another, slightly damaging some broccoli (!) and another chute didn't open quite 100%, resulting in the box getting buried (hopefully only the cardboard was a bit more crushed).

The cargoids went out quickly to gather up the chutes, but forklift problems delayed the actual cargo recovery for a bit.

flight fans
The crowd that came out to watch, as seen from the roof of the RF
building. The drop zone was actually another mile or so south (TH).

Credits...the (USAF/GC) photos come from the official press release on the Air Force Link site, but they were actually taken by cargo person Greg Campbell, who participated in the recovery work. GG is Glenn Grant...TH is Tim Hayosh, and EG is Ethan Good. Other info courtesy of Nathan Bahls.