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Air-Drop Food and Water Packets on Haiti!


Use the Tri-wall Aerial Delivery System (TRIADS) to Feed Haitians Now!

The U.S. Army and Air Force have available to them a well-proven emergency food air-drop system that will allow us to quickly deliver emergency food rations directly to the starving Haitians without the need for secondary ground transport from the recently established air-drop zones. It was used widely during 1993-1994 in Bosnia, and again during 2001 in Afghanistan.

It is called TRIADS, for Tri-wall Aerial Delivery System, can be used with both C-130 and C-17 cargo planes, and is documented in U.S. Army Field Manual 4-20.147/Air Force TO 13C7-37-31, “AIRDROP OF SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT: Humanitarian Airdrop”, last updated in January of 2005. Chapter 2 of this manual details the complete rigging details.

The method is simple–simply drop foil-wrapped packets of food, such as granola bars, candy bars, and MREs (military Meals Ready to Eat) from the cargo ramp of a plane. Terminal resistance assures that these lightweight food packets will not harm anyone on the ground, and that they will remain sealed and edible, even if dropped from thousands of feet.

You can watch a 4-minute YouTube video showing an actual 2001 TRIADS mission in Afghanistan at

You can download the official Field Manual at

TRIADS relies on the geometry of the foil pouches the MREs are contained in to flutter them to the ground, directly over the population in need. Because of the wide dispersion, the starving children and adults have as much of a chance to get some food as do the thugs running around with machetes, and it becomes impossible for those thugs to take-over and hoard entire pallets of food.

This system was used in Bosnia and Afghanistan, and can distribute over 32,000 MREs per C-17 drop (816 MREs in each of the 40 TRIAD boxes it can carry). Because a TRIAD package can be assembled, rigged, and loaded far more quickly than the parachute-based air-drops we have seen used this week, and because there is no additional ground transport required, TRIADS can deliver far more food to far more people in less time than any other method that can be deployed in Haiti over the next week.

It also is much less costly than the parachute-based air-drops, which means far more food can be delivered for each donated dollar.

Please forward this message to anyone you know who might be able to get a high-ranking disaster relief official, military official, or politician to start using this system ASAP!

For those interested in more details of this “food fluttering”, here is some additional background:

One Comment
  1. gerry cain permalink
    2010-02-02 10:15

    I am delighted to find you, although I have done so belatedly. I feel that the whole sorry saga of airdrops for Haiti has been a letdown for the poor Haitians. Perhaps, mercifully, their extreme anguish has been relieved satisfactorily by now, by the old-fashioned manual movement of ground supplies.

    Day-after- long day I was frantic to find someone I could write to or talk to in order to help force action to get SOME sort of airdrop activity going before starvation big-time ravaged Haiti. Where are the pressure points at times like these? All news of it was off behind the back page, so very few cared about this unprecedentedly inhumane, preventable (or at least reducible) second-phase catastrophe.

    TRIADs would have been ideal. Just imagine those weak and debilitated individuals seeing meals floating down to them. The skies could have been seeded with them, maybe several passes a day until the worst of the hunger was suppressed. What a criminal loss of opportunity!

    Parachute drops of water & food pallettes seemed a good second-place thing to do. I have only read of two such: on Jan 18 and Jan 21. They packed a great punch, but many more were needed. Are any more known of?

    Is the most pointed anguish really over now (Feb 2)? It’s so hard to tell from the news media. Maybe it really is fading to history now, but I worry. Especially about the next future disaster and whether continued withholding of TRUE aid is to become the norm!


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