If you are a pilot and are planning on making airdrops, make absolutely certain that you and your partner have the signals straight. If you want to know why, ask Doug Geeting of Talkeetna. One Christmas while he was supplying a number of mountain climbers on Mt. Denali, Geeting received an order for a halibut.
Working with a cargo handler who was inexperienced, Geeting flew out for Mt. Denali with the requested halibut and an assortment of other goods for other climbers scattered up the mountain. When he arrived at the first encampment, he turned to his cargo thrower-outer and yelled “Halibut.”
She thought he said, “All of it.”
So she opened the fuselage door and proceeded to toss out all of the cargo. It rained supplies on the mountain climbers. The halibut hit a tent and ripped it in two. A case of beer landed between two men inside another tent and sprayed them with foam. Other supplies pockmarked the landscape giving the campsite the appearance of a bomb-testing range.
Feeling the plane unexpectedly light, Geeting turned around to see what the problem was. When he saw the cargo bay empty, he asked what had happened to the cargo?
“I threw it out,” his cargo handler said. “You said, ‘All of it.”‘
“No, I said ‘Halibut!'” Then he turned his Beaver and went back to see what kind of damage the falling cargo had done. But as he approached the campsite, he saw everyone scattering. They thought he was making a return run!