Flight 11/30/2007 - Drop Test

For an upcoming winter adventure we need to know how to drop things from airplanes. Since neither Richard or I have done this we thought it good to get some practice. Richard knew of a private strip north of Stanwood which had some good open space to manouver and which the owner's kindly let us use.

We both loaded up some sample payloads: dry bags full of clothing and other unbreakable items. I included some Platypus water bottles with water. I also brought along some flagging tape to test as a streamer. Since we'll be dropping into snow we think the streamer may help us locate the bags.

I flew while richard sat in the back and dropped bags. For comfort, we kept the rear door on. At 70 MPH or slower it he could open the door, hold the bag, then drop when ready. The first passes fairly low, maybe 60 ft, and acuracy was good.

Richard collecting bags from the first run. We were making passes across the runnway and aming for the gravel road. Some were long and some short. (The runway is the grass strip left of the gravel road.)

flt_071130_1.jpg Maule at the end of the runway.

Landing at this strip was interesting. I flew a tight right base at 300 ft then turned final, skimed over the barn, and dropped to the runway. We heard that the western end might be wet so were trying to land as close to the barn as possible. Normally the Maule does not float very much. Or, when I'm not concerned about runway length the float does not seem significant. On these landings, when I did want it to stop flying, it seemed content to float on down the runway. At least it makes for smooth landings.

One of the platypus bottles broke while the other two did not. They were all veterns of several trips. I think some new bottles will do just fine. None the less, I'll pack them in a seperate dry bag.

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