Double-Leg Day! (+ 86 Miles)
January 21, 2009: Migration Day 86

Photo Heather Ray, Operation Migration

The Chass Seven launched at 7:57 and completed two flight legs (sections) today! They flew right over Madison County and landed at 9:25 in Gilchrist County, Florida. That's 86 miles on Day 86: 1199 miles total. Next stop: Halpata-Tastanaki Preserve — just one flight from their final goal.

Something else unusual happened on this double-leg day. Pilot Joe Duff performed the first air pickup as the birds finally took off from their Jefferson County pen. Then, less than two miles out, Brooke moved in to pick up the birds off Joe's wing. Why? Joe could not fly slower than 38 mph without his engine stalling, and the birds had trouble keeping up with him. Joe suspected that a bit of the wingcover got caught in his propeller and caused the problem. But all pilots and birds landed safely. Joe later said, "I’m sorry I missed my last flight with them, but it’s far more important that they arrived safely. I’ll save my goodbyes until we circle the pen at Chassahowitzka." HOORAY for them all!

NEXT FLY DAY: Arrival Event! See the birds fly over the Dunnellon/Marion County Airport, 15070 SE 111th St. (off Hwy 484E) in Dunnellon, Florida, on their way to Halpata. The flyover should be around 7:30/8:00 a.m. The Operation Migration team will return to celebrate and other WCEP (the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership) speakers will be there. Celebration time!


In the Classroom:

  • Today's Journal Questions:
    (a ) Why do you think the pilots like an air pick-up? (Usually the trike taxies into position outside the pen's main gate. The handler opens the gate and the birds rush out and take off after the aircraft. Sometimes the birds are off the ground before the ultralight. In an "air pick-up," the pilot simply flies low past the enclosure and the cranes stampede out and take off after him! Timing is everything. Release birds too soon and it could backfire; release them too late and they may not be able to catch up to the pilot.)

  • (b-for-bonus) What equipment is this worker using to help get the pen at Halpata ready for the cranes? What other methods help keep the crane pen safe? Click on photo).
Photo WCEP


Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure presented in cooperation with the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).