ALAMO, take 2

We return to the ocean the next day with better weather

A clear view of open water at our proposed drop site.

The crew flies over our proposed site, descends to 300 feet and then climbs back to 2500 feet to check the wind speed and direction. While we turn around to return to the drop site, the cargo deck crew prepares the ALAMO float.

The crew prepares to open the cargo door as we near the drop site.

We scientists are seated along the sides (with our seatbelts fastened) and the loadmasters don harnesses and tether themselves to anchor points on the cargo deck.  It’s time to open the cargo door!

With the cargo door open, the backlighting overwhelms my camera. Sgt. Ray is prepared to give the signal to launch.  The line going upward will trigger the parachute deployment when the float falls away from the plane.

When the navigator tells the loadmaster that we are at the proper location, they launch the ALAMO, its parachute deploys, and it drifts out of sight quickly, before we can see if it landed in the water.

Sgt Ray watches the orange parachute of the ALAMO float drift away (Photo: Tej Dhakal)

Everyone wants to know that the ALAMO landed safely in the water, so Major Hicks circles back several times while we search the surface of the ocean for the orange parachute.  We never saw any sign of it.

When we land, Kirsty comes on board with a smile on her face and says that the ALAMO float has already sent us an email to say that it has successfully made its first measurements!