Today marked a moment in history that will probably only be noticed by a few - perhaps you included. Today we ran the first pinging runs in Upper Manya Krobo.
It was amazing... We had been delayed by weather, but our trusty Rotax Powered, Zenith CH701 sat, ready, waiting. With around 140litre fuel capacity and 20 drop bags on board, 9G ZAF was ready to go, and this morning, 'GO we went'!
We dropped a total of 19 bags, but on 2 drops we called a foul (my fault, a snag on the camera) and so we re-dropped.
The images shown here are marvellous - they show the amazingness of it all... and you can see the aircraft shadow in many...
The flying went smoothly and safely, with Patricia Mawuli flying left seat, and I ran 'drop master' position. We shared the roles of GPS tagging, photography and dropping as well as flying the plane. Patricia would set up on the target, descending from 500'AGL to the approved 200'AGL drop height, as she passed 400' she hit the GPS marker, and I got ready to drop and photo... the people were amazing, they heard the plane, moved clear of the approach path, and then ran to collect the drop bag. For these communities it is new, but many have heard about it and many have seen it demonstrated at Battorkope and Kpong during the research phase. Between villages I would share the flying control duties so as to give Patricia a rest from the concentrated low-level flying. We know these areas well, and run through the flight on our stock images we have built of our target areas, we know all the trees, the odd power lines and comms towers, but still make a 'security check' before the descent and declare an 'escape route'. All went well and, as usual in aviation, planning and preparation paid dividends... The research phase is now over... Today was not research - today was outreach.
As I write we have around a 50% response rate in the first 12 hours... tomorrow may bring more - all were happy to be considered as a part of this outreach - and we will keep you up to date with the outcomes....
Michaela will report on the community responses tomorrow!