I’m reminded of a certain “cabin pressure” episode (2.4 “Johannesburg”)
CAROLYN: But, of course, you were just warming up! Because not only did you steal my aircraft, you then chose to mark your arrival at the children’s birthday party by dropping a bomb on it.
DOUGLAS: The idea was perfectly sound!It occurred to me that if we filled the air brake cavity with boiled sweets and then opened it just as we were flying over …
CAROLYN: … you could strafe your daughter’s birthday party.
DOUGLAS: No, not ‘strafe’! We weren’t going anything like fast enough! And we were quite sure the sweets would flutter gently down to the excited children beneath. And so they would have done, if it hadn’t been rather a hot day and the sweets in the metal compartment hadn’t melted a little and then, up in the cold air, solidified again into a…
Brilliant. You would think that the Thai Navy officials who planned the helicopter drop would understand that directing all of its downwash onto a structure is the equivalent of parking the helicopter itself on said structure; no wonder the tents collapsed. Not only that, but the speed of the downwash a short distance below the helicopter is pretty high and assures the candy gets propelled downward at injurious speed.
Things probably would have been fine if they had just performed the drop from a higher altitude, giving the downwash a chance to spread out and slow down.
I guess it depends on what level of “fine” you are comfortable with. Regardless of height, the pieces of candy will be traveling at terminal velocity, which even for a piece of candy wrapped in cellophane, is likely to be high enough to cause injury.
No, in my book, the only way to make it fine would have been for the helicopter to have landed and they handed the candy out personally to the spectators.
The way they did it at the local minor league baseball park was to keep the kids behind a rope as the candy was dropped. Once all of the candy had hit the ground and the helicopter had flown away they unleashed the kids.
What if you used a t-shirt cannon from the ground? Kinda like a shotgun shell - lots of little projectiles coming out of the cannon. I would think there wouldn’t be enough velocity or height to do any damage, and would spread pretty quickly out of the muzzle.
Check the article linked in the OP. There’s a video showing it all happening. The “destroyed a stadium” headline is a bit of an overstatement, but there were some high rain canopies held up by steel trusswork, and the heli’s downwash flattened them onto the crowd. The candy drop might have stung, but I’ll wager it was those collapsing canopies that caused most/all of the hospital visits.