This January saw yet another first for the Australian Antarctic Program, utilising low cost and recyclable parachutes, alongside precision delivery systems, we successfully carried out an aerial resupply. This assists in building capability to undertake such an operation in the deep field where landing an aircraft would simply not be feasible.
Up until 20 minutes prior to the aircraft being overhead, the crew on-board were unaware of the exact location of the first drop (2 bundles with low velocity parachutes). The Casey station ground team radioed through the coordinates and watched on with eager anticipation as the bundles launched into the air from the back of the aircraft landing right by the intended target!
The aircraft circled like a one-eyed skua (in one observers opinion) and approached once again to make the second drop, right on target! The aircraft continued to circle and climb, higher and higher, soaring like a giant petrel. This time deploying the GPS guided system which steers the parachute towards a predetermined point of impact, the bundle seemingly floated before correcting its path a number of times and descending onto the target, “wow that’s really going to land close” said Nathan Bourke. “My goodness, right on target,” gasped Eddy Gault.
Nick Watt, Operations Coordinator