November 26, 2001
Twenty Miles Farther
Pilot Joe Duff wrote on Saturday, "For the next four days the winds are forecast to blow out of the south. We no longer think in terms of 60 to 70 mile legs but would be content with half that distance. This morning, after three days on the ground, we waited for the fog to clear and took-off in headwinds and haze. The temperature and winds aloft were higher than on the ground so we kept the birds low to keep them cool and make the best speed possible. Just over the trees the turbulence was rough but we maintained a ground speed of 35mph or better. Three birds surfed on each wing as we passed over private homes on a Saturday morning. It is a common sight to see a homeowner standing in his backyard sipping coffee as we approach. The reaction is predictable as he drops his coffee and dashes for the back door. As we pass by the house, husband, wife and kids, still dressed in pajamas, charge out the front door with cameras in hand."
Today's photo shows the young cranes surfing on the wing of the ultralight, as Joe described above. Their wild crane cousins made the journey south by riding on thermals, but the new reintroduced Eastern flock had no adult cranes to show them the way. Although an ultralight aircraft can't ride thermals like the wild cranes did, it CAN provide the cranes following it with a little help. Enjoy our lesson on Flight Formation, which includes a fun comparison of Giant Canada Geese, wild sandhill cranes and wild whooping cranes. The lesson's facts and chart will help you answer these questions:
Map the Migration
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