Go? No. Headwinds Again (+ 0 Miles )
December 2, 2008: Migration Day 47

Read Joe's comments below about his November 27 flight with 14.
Photo Richard van Heuvelen

It looked like a go but once aloft, the headwinds proved too risky. When the pilots tried to fly from the airfield hangars over to the pen site, they sent word over the radio: “It’s not do-able; we’re returning to the airfield.” Alas, the migration is stalled for day three in Marshall County, Kentucky. It looks like it may be two more days until the right weather comes. In the meantime, see Joe's field journal notes from his Thanksgiving Day flight and then tackle our Journal Questions.

Joe Duff wrote: "Normally after a few miles one or two of the birds drop back and are eventually picked up by the chase pilots, but this time they all stayed. I climbed at 50 feet per minute to 2,000 feet with 7 birds on each wingtip. Occasionally a bird on the end would drop and we'd have to drop a few hundred feet to let it catch back up. The front birds would challenge the wing once in a while by charging ahead to take the lead.

"For a time they were all off one wing with the last two birds working hard to keep up, so I climbed sharply and did a steep turn, then settled back into the flock and they resumed their split formation. With only seven birds on each wing they all get some benefit from the wake it generates."

The public can view the cranes and planes upon departing Marshall County, KY for Carroll County, TN by meeting in front of the Lighthouse Missionary Baptist Church on CR1264 (also known as Flat Road), which is off Hwy 402. Flat Road, or CR1264. is between Jackson School Road and Wilkins Road. MapQuest or GoogleMaps will help you to come up with driving directions from your home location.

In the Classroom

  • Today's Journal Questions:
    (a) Why do you think one or two of the birds normally drops back after a few miles? What helps them to continue flying? What is a time when you got tired but someone's help kept you going?
  • (b-for-bonus) In the second paragraph, How did Joe use his skill as a pilot to help the birds have an easier flight? When have you used one of your skills to help a newer learner have an easier time?

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