Submitted by Jonathan Porter
This is a very pertinent question. Those who have seen SALT will know that Angelina Joli also uses sanitary towels for gunshot wounds - but these ones are for the more traditional use.
Having collected 1200 packs of sanitary towels - that is 12000 pads - we are now in the interesting phase of Humanitarian Aviation Logistics - the weight and balance phase.
We are providing two different types of towels - standard 'long' and compact with wings... how appropriate... These personal hygiene items will be taken to a village in order to support and encourage menstruating girls at school. The idea is simple - have good school attendance and get a supply of sanitary towels. Easy and simple idea - but to fly them in on a monthly, or periodic basis, requires a little thought.
First of all, I can reliable inform you all that 12000 sanitary pads fit comfortably in my Toyota Previa mini-van. I can also tell you that the cardboard boxes are heavy and unnecessary to fly with.
Now, we realize that plastic bag repacking is essential - but once they are in plastic bags they tend to be less ordered and more bulky in their arrangements. This is a challenge. I would like to 'band' them - but with what? We could use masking tape - but it may tear the pack packaging on removal... String is possible too - but may damage the product...
Next we need to study the weight and volume quite carefully. The CH701 has a large baggage area - and can carry 18 kgs (about 40lbs) maximum. We then have the questions of size of bundle for potential aerial supply drops (we don't want to have to land each time we deliver - for example during the rainy season the runway may be too wet...
If we package too large the dropper may hit the pilot on the head or knock the centre stick - or worse still get the package stuck in the door! There is a lot of science - and more experimentation needed.
Fortunately, we have some teenage girls starting at the AvTech Academy, an new educational establishment being set up with support from MoM, WAASPS and others, to train young ladies in Aviation and Technology - and giving these girls a large box of sanitary wear and getting them to run the calcs, seems most appropriate!
In the mean time, if anybody out there has experience of aerial supply drops of sanitary towels - or other products - please share your experiences - because this has to be good!
We will be flying around Ghana in the 701 at the beginning of November, demonstrating on National Television that built in Ghana planes, flown by Ghanaian girls are capable of going places and doing things - and it will be just one week before the annual Air Show at Kpong.
We will keep you posted, and also let you know 'how many sanitary pads can fit in a CH701 bush plane for Humanitarian Mission flying!!!