I live in Jacksonville, TX, the “Tomato Capitol of the World”. We have the historic Tomato Bowl Football Stadium, the Tomato Fest, and, most applicably to our discussion, the Tomato Drop at the Cherokee County Airport. Last Saturday we had the Tomato Drop and all had a really good time.
We place a huge target on the taxiway and then we all have a big time trying to throw tomatoes at the target from airplanes flying over. The lowest altitude is 100′ AGL, and you would be surprised at how difficult it is to hit the target. The closest anyone got to the target was 12 feet, and that was after hundreds of tomatoes were dropped!
I can testify that the Malibu is about the worst airplane for the Tomato Drop. Fast, only the small “whiskey hatch” is available to toss the tomatoes, and the forward visibility simply sucks…the Piper Cub is a much better tomato platform.
The best flight technique is to maintain an exact airspeed, altitude, and track. Then, use bracketing to drop the tomato. Note the drop place and note the place the tomato actually hits. Then, let the next tomato drop a little later on the next pass. On the third pass you should have a good idea how early to let the tomato drop.
We flew a bunch of kids, had hamburgers and all the trimmings, and (most importantly) celebrated the freedom we have to fly in America.