Gadget Freak Case 106: CopterBox Puts A New Spin on Air Cargo

By: 
August 13, 2007

Air delivery of supplies to areas where there's no place to land is typically done by parachute or helicopter. A parachute is reusable, but requires a trained rigger, periodic inspection, occasional repairs, controlled storage conditions and, of course, some way to return it to base after the drop. In dire battlefield conditions, used parachute components must at least be made unavailable to the enemy. In jungle areas, parachutes tend to leave the cargo hanging in the trees. Helicopters are expensive to operate, impossible to hide, make for high-risk operations behind enemy lines and can't land in the jungle without a prepared site.

Chase Warren and his teammates at DropMaster Inc. have a better idea: an economical, single-use delivery system that's compact, simple to rig and has the rectangular shipping container with all of the parts inside transforming into the hexagonal drop box! A small drogue chute with a metering line orients the package in free-fall and then deploys the deceleration system - three rotor blades that spin with the cargo (no bearings) at about 450 rpm and create lift to control the descent rate. It penetrates tree cover without a hitch and you can even use the parts as a camp stove to cook those fresh groceries!

CopterBox is combat-proven by U.S. Special Operations Forces in the mountains of Afghanistan.

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