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27 March 2015

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Phil, I enjoy reading this article and your contribution in the initial stage of what became an Independent State of PNG later. Thank you. This article reminded me of a candidate dropping posters in a helicopter during a election campaign period and the people in the village running in the direction of the flying posters yelling, "money! money! money!"

Phil has brought back vivid memories for me, as the recipient of a resupply airdrop.

As I recall, the goods were triple bagged in an effort to minimise losses and, while in several cases the two inner bags burst, all enclosed tinned goods were recovered intact, if slightly dented.

The aircraft involved was a Britten Norman Islander, which had a very low stall speed, thus making it very suitable for the job. It came in low and slow with ADO John Mundell doing the honours with the cargo.

The biggest concern was an over-enthusiastic local warrior who got the idea that he could literally catch the bags as they fell.

Luckily for him (and me) after having seen one bag hit the ground, he suddenly realised that this was a bad plan and scampered off the drop zone before any suffering any harm.

As for dropping things out of an aircraft, this was a task I was glad to avoid. A few hairy helicopter flights with my bum hanging halfway out of the door were quite terrifying enough thank you.

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