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November 12, 2002
Day 31

On a Roll! Into Kentucky

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Imagine your wingspan is 8 feet across and 16 of you are trying to get a good position with the trike's 19-meter wing!

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See cranes in the 1 & 3 positions? Their beaks are open. What noise do you think they make when they fly with the ultralights?

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Dirty wing! Photos OM, WCEP

All 16 birds took off at 7:53 a.m. and left Indiana behind. They made the longest flight of their lives so far, landing in Washington County, Kentucky after flying 1 hour and 57 minutes. Way to go, birds! The 90-mile flight brings their trip total to 522.5 miles gone. They were on such a roll that the team decided to skip the first stop planned in Kentucky and continue to the next. The temp. was 42 degrees--perfect for flying--and tailwinds helped.

This is fantastic news in a week of worrisome weather in this part of the U.S. More than 30 tornadoes touched down from Alabama to Ohio, and the National Weather Service says it was one of the worst November tornado outbreaks on record. On November 10, the team in Hendricks Co., IN took the wings off the ultralights and staked them down to keep them from blowing away in the stormy weather. Yesterday, Joe and Brooke found the large white triangles barely showing under the fallen leaves and rainwater. Heather said their campsite had changed overnight from "bean field to waterfront property." All that was history today as the team took off under skies first overcast, then clear.

Imagine you are the ultralight pilot navigating in a tiny, open aircraft. You are alone and it takes both hands and arms to steer with the bar that moves the wing. The air is racing past the plane as you fly. Reading a map in such conditions would be hopeless! Hear Joe explain how GPS, or Global Positioning System, helps the pilots:

Audio Clip: Navigating With Help From GPS

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Try This! Journaling Questions
  • Why do you think it is important that the ultralight wing is clean and free of debris? (See photo above).
  • What are 3 ways GPS helps ultralight pilots flying with the cranes?
  • How does today's flight compare with last November 12? List 3 differences.
  • Remember to fill in your Comparing Migrations chart. Today's flight was the longest so far!


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

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