Halloween Fright Flight (+55 Miles)
October 31, 2011: Migration Day 23

Ultralight pilot holds onto steering bar.

Image: Operation Migration TrikeCam

WOO HOO (five flew) and BOO HOO (four were boxed and driven). More miles were the treat, but not before some tricks. All nine birds followed Richard upon takeoff, with #1 lagging behind. "After a few miles he caught up," wrote Richard, "and we headed on course for a 1.5-hour flight to LaSalle County." Crane #1 found the sweet spot and got to soar and rest a bit. Soon he was no longer panting with an open beak. As the birds neared Highway 20 where it is still a freeway, they spooked and scattered in all directions. Richard circled and managed to gather #1, 6, 7, 10 and 12, cross back over the freeway, and get back on course. They slowly climbed and crossed Interstate 39 at 2,500 feet above sea level( ASL). The birds seemed nervous and changed positions a lot, and Crane #1 seemed the best behaved.

But the other four put pilots Brooke and Joe through some tricks as they wrangled to get the turnbacks back to the pen in hopes of another takeoff. By then the air had become trashy, so they had to give up that plan. The four were boxed and driven to LaSalle County. The good news is that they all roost tonight with a total of 175 miles behind them. Happy Halloween from Operation Migration and Journey South!

Happy Halloween!

In the Classroom: Journal or Discussion

  • (a) Why do you think the cranes didn't do as well today as they did on their last fly day, which was two days ago?
  • (b-for-bonus) Ultralights are simple airplanes that weigh only about 400 pounds. How do you think the pilots steer the ultralight? See today's "Think and Link" photo study to compare your thoughts.

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