Come In, Alpha-Kilo-Quebec!
Sitting in the Cockpit

What does it feel like to bump along the grass "runway" in an ultralight aircraft, picking up speed -- and then lifting off, wind flapping your sleeves and pantlegs? The helmet feels heavy on your neck, and the headphones muffle any sounds. Your arm strength is tested as you hold the bar and move the wing to guide the plane in the headwinds. You are high over the treetops with nothing surrounding you but air, and nothing holding you but a lap belt. Are you ready to think like a pilot? Here we go!

Curious about all these instruments? Study the image below to learn what they do. Then think like a pilot to answer the questions under the image.


Ultralight plane cockpick with labels and explanations.

Try This! Journaling Questions
1. Read the altimeter. How many feet high are you AGL (above ground level)?

2. Which button would you push if you wanted to broadcast this sound to the birds?

3. Find the Airspeed Indicator. How many miles per hour are you traveling through the air?

4. What instrument will you use (it's missing from the photo) to find your ground speed? What makes ground speed differ from air speed? (Listen to Joe and then see this page.)

5. What is the name of the dial or instrument that tells how fast you are traveling up or down in feet per minute? Which can climb faster--the ultralight or a Whooping crane? How many minutes could it take a Whooping crane to climb to 4000 feet?

6. When talking to the airport, what letters would you use to identify yourself over the radio?

7. At how many RPMs is the engine turning right now?


Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).