Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

October 3, 2002
Who Does What?


Pilot Joe Duff and the Trike (A passenger sits in the backpack seat on this non-training flight)

The new October 10 departure date gives the young crane colts get few more training flights to help to build their flight endurance. The delay helps the crew, too. They get an extra three days to finish important tasks before they leave. Then all that's left is to hope for good migration weather. Before you read on, what do you think some of these "getting ready" tasks are?

The pilots and ground crew do more than train and tend to the cranes. They must also build or repair the travel pens (enclosures) that will keep the birds safe at the stopover sites where they spend the nights along the way. They must be sure to have everything they need to keep planes pens, trailers, vehicles and motor homes running in top condition on the 1200-mile journey. A total o 38 possible stopovers have been arranged for along the migration path. These sites are from 20 to 60 miles apart. Each site has to be in readiness too. It will take many, many people working together to carry out this migration plan. Later we'll learn more about the duties of the support team. Now let's hear OM Administrative Director Heather Ray describe the duties of the pilots who will lead the birds in the 350-pound trikes:
  • Audio Clip: Duties of Lead, Chase, and Scout Pilots

Try This! Journaling Questions
  • Study the photo and tell why you think the ultralight is also called a trike.
  • What's the difference in roles of the lead, chase, and scout pilots? In the audio clip, what does Heather mean when she says the chase pilot will "pick up the bird on his wing"?

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

Copyright 2002 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.
Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to
our feedback form