Not a total bust!
Written by Bill Schlichting, Pilot staff writer   
May 04, 2011 04:00 am
Participants show their creations in front of CAP airplane. The Pilot/Bill Schlichting
Can an egg be dropped from a height of 30 feet and not break when it hits the pavement below?

Two weeks ago, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) issued an invitation to the community to see if it could be done.

People who accepted the challenge gathered at the Brookings Airport Saturday morning for the first Egg Drop Contest. They arrived with an assortment of ideas – a variety of homemade parachutes, different kinds of padding, ranging from foam rubber to bubble wrap, to help protect the eggs.

“There was some very unique equipment to accomplish this task,” said 2nd Lt. Darlene Reilly-Thomas, publicist for CAP.

Thirteen of the 17 entries were successful. In the end, however, the CAP chose an entry by Elizabeth “Beth” Myer as the winner of the most aeronautical apparatus because her device was among the slowest to come down and it made the softest landing.

Beth created a parachute from black plastic and cut a small hole in the center. Attached at the bottom of the parachute was a small piece of egg-crate foam which was used to cradle the egg.

Most of the successful devices were something resembling a parachute. Eggs were cradled inside boxes with packing material, foam or bubble wrap. One thing became apparent: The heavier the padding, the faster the apparatus fell to the earth, causing a higher instance of breakage.

Cadet Commander Karen Carr climbed a section of scaffold and was handed the entries. The scaffold was then raised with a forklift, bringing the platform to about 25 feet. One by one, Carr released each device from about her eye level.

The first drop was a flop; the wind blew the apparatus into the side of the building. A quick decision was made to move the tower further upwind. From its new location, no more entries struck the building, although one landed on the roof.

One entry was almost successful. The egg was suspended inside a rubber-mesh ball. The idea was for the ball to cushion the blow of the impact. The ball collapsed, however.

And perhaps not all of the entries were intended to be successful. CAP Cadet Daisy Carr fastened her egg to water balloons and used a plastic grocery bag as a parachute. If an award was given for the biggest mess, hers would have been the winner.

A few eggs survived the drop, but were broken when contestants accidentally dropped or squeezed the eggs when pulling them out of their device.

Participants included Victoria Schutte, Chris Schutte, Blaze Bergeron, Abbey Schreiber, Ed Schreiber, Peter Schreiber, Shanon Cowan, Anna Myer, Beth Myer, Benji Myer, Ethan Myer, Josiah Myer and Don Carr and CAP cadets Kyle Rice, Holly Carr, Daisy Carr, and Kevin Golden 

Also in attendance were senior CAP members Commander Charlie Kresa, Vice Commander Ron Griswold, Karen Carr, Capt. Jim Metcalf,  Capt. Tom Moore, 1st Lt. Larry Mostachetti, and Reilly-Thomas.

“It was decided that since this was so much fun, we would hold this event annually and with more sophistication by having age and type classes the next time,” Reilly-Thomas said.