The first live test was conducted with a pig as the target. Due to some stability issues, the pig spun in the 125 mph wind, and arrived on the plane dizzy and discombobulated. It recovered, however, and promptly attacked the crew.
This article details the use of the Skyhook as a means of extraction from arctic Ice Floe ‘research’ stations during the cold war. From the same generation that brought you Spam and Mutual Assured Destruction.