Boo Hoo: Spooky Winds(+ 0 Miles )
October 31, 2008: Migration Day 15

Photo Operation Migration

Halloween is Down-day #2 in Green County, Wisconsin. Notes from Joe's test flight to test conditions aloft this morning tell why: "I took off to the north and turned downwind to fly the valley at the same speed as the birds would cruise. There were turbulences over the hills but nothing we couldn’t handle so I climbed higher. At 800 feet there was a sheer layer as the wind changed direction. The aircraft bumped and rolled for a minute or so and began to rotate to the right. (To counter a cross wind you have to aim into it in order to stay on course.)

"It’s a very odd feeling to be pointing west yet moving south in an almost sideways flight pattern. It’s like crossing a fast moving river in a speed boat, you must aim upstream to reach a point on the opposite shore or you’ll end up some place down river. The more you aim into the current, the slower your progress across, and as I flew toward our destination my speed began to decrease. Flying through the air at 38 MPH, I was only passing over the ground at 26. So we are down for another day, but we can take small consolation in knowing we did our best."

In the Classroom

  • Today's Journal Questions:
    (a) The air on the surface was dead calm and there were no clouds as the team got out of bed. Why did Joe, whose turn it is to be lead pilot, take a test flight before the no-fly decision was made? (Look for reasons in today's report, above.)
  • (b-for-bonus) What would you like/no like about being an ultralight pilot? To help you get started, think about the events so far this trip, and read Joe's Field Journal comments from this morning: "Preparation for a departure is time consuming so we start before sunrise by untying the aircraft and stowing the tie downs in case they are needed later. We add layers of clothing slowly to balance between the cold temperatures and the exertion it takes to get everything ready. There is nothing worse than taxiing onto the runway sweating under layers of clothing only to climb into freezing temperatures and a 40 mile per hour wind chill."

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