Don and Paula Lounsbury volunteer as "Top-cover" pilots
for Operation Migration. Their dog comes along too! As top-cover
pilots, they fly ahead in a faster plane. Then they circle
above the ultralights, keeping watch until the pilots and
birds reach the new stopover site. Their radios let them
keep in touch with air traffic control AND all the ultralight
pilots during each leg of the flight.
and Paula have used their Cessna 182 to provide top cover for every
migration since the first one in 2001. In fact
they invented the top cover position. They figured
out the spacing needed to keep track of the ultralights, yet
not disturb the birds. They laid the ground work for the network
controllers who now know the Operation Migration story and clear
the team through the route each autumn.