It's COLD Up There!
Joe Duff wrote in his flight journal: The
longer it takes us to reach the southern states, the colder the
flight days the
wind racing by at 35 mph (or more!) begins to eat away at your
body-heat reserves, so dressing warmly
is critical. Each of us has our own methods of maintaining body
all starts with long johns under our flight
suits. (Fleece jackets, snowmobile suits, parkas
and other warm clothes can go over that.) The costume
is always the outer layer.
wear insulated waterproof boots and keep hand warmers inside
heavy mitts stuffed in fleece-lined
gauntlets attached to the control bar. (The hard
part is when you have
to remove the mitts to adjust the GPS or use the camera.)
pilots keep thinking of new ways to stay warm. Chris said, "I
protect my face with a fleece balaclava and use chemical heat
pads in my boots on really cold mornings, with temps
in the teens. Richard and
I got tired of having numb fingers so we installed heated hand
grips on the control bar
of our trikes' wings. This has been a wonderful addition
to our cold weather arsenal, and allows us to fly
lighter weight gloves so we can operate our radios,
GPS units, and take pictures without pulling off a bulky
Landing: Sometimes Too HOT!
If the winds are good and we can over fly a stop, we are generally
airborne for 2 hours. After we land, we lead the birds off to
an isolated spot until the ground crew arrives and gets the pen
up. If we have flown for 2 hours, that generally means they have
to drive for 3 after packing up the pen at the last site. The
set up at the new location takes roughly an hour, so the birds
not secured until sometime in the early afternoon.
By this time (if we're farther south) it is often 70 degrees
and we pilots are still dressed for sub zero conditions. If you
costume, you can begin to remove some layers if you are desperate.
speculate about what the birds think when their 'parents'
begin to convulse and contort while standing ankle deep in mud.
Put on several layers of warm clothing. Top it off by putting a sheet
or blanket over it all, rather like the costume the pilots wear. Now
try taking off some layers without letting the watching crane-kids
you are a human under all those layers!
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational
adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).