the Mountains to Hiwassee NWR!
Joe Duff led with 9
2, and Richard was between them with 8. They started a slow climb and watched
ahead. One of Richard's birds kept dropping. He feared he'd lose too much altitude
to clear the ridge. He let the bird go and called Mark to track it. In
the meantime, one bird had dropped
from Joe's wing--unbeknownst to Joe! The birds climbed
high enough to clear the ridge, with only 300-400
feet to spare.
crossed a wide plateau. The air was smooth with
a 20 mile per hour tailwind and a cool 13 degrees--which freezes the pilots
but makes better flying for both the birds and the planes. But where
were the two missing birds? The pilots landed in turn, and from out
of somewhere (?) the two missing birds appeared
again! Joe said, "All
nineteen birds were safely on the ground. This means one had followed us
at tree-top level for the last 10 miles but the other crossed the
and kept us in
sight for better than 30 miles before joining us as we circled down." Crane
#506 was one
of them, but which one?
Today's flight took place without pilot Chris Gullikson. Chris had trouble with the throttle on his aircraft and made an emergency landing. He caught up with the team at Hiwassee after making repairs.
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure presented in cooperation with the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).
2005 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.