Some of the islands that do not have runways sometimes run out of medical supplies or there is an outbreak that requires a restocking of the dispensary. PMA is called upon by the hospital to fly to these islands and do a medicine drop. These islands are between 350 and 500 miles away. The hospital will bring the medicines to our hangar where we repack them into boxes with enough padding to protect the contents. Then we build a makeshift parachute using a bedsheet tied at the four corners and connected to the box.
When we fly over the Island, we do a low pass to make sure we see the target location, usually indicated by a red flag either on the beach or in the water. Then we circle around and try to position the plane upwind from the target. In the plane, we have a crewmember at the back baggage door ready to drop the package as soon as the pilot signals. When the pilot is ready, he makes a hand signal and the crewmember drops the package.
Usually there are several boxes to drop so the pilot will need to know if the first box was early, late, left or right of the target. Then ideally he makes the proper adjustments before dropping the next package.