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YESSSS! Here's news we've all been waiting for! The cranes
took off from Gordon County, Georgia at 7:51 this morning and didn't land
until they'd burned through --are you ready?--a whopping 200 miles. They
flew an incredible 3 hours and 4 minutes, the longest flight ever recorded
for both time and distance. And there's more! With 16-knot tailwinds for
help, they were able to skip THREE stops! Joe said, "At 2200 feet
the airspeed indicator told us the birds where flying at their normal
38 miles per hour but the mass of air we were traveling in was also moving
at south at 40 mph. Combined, we were covering ground at over 70 mph and
we blew past three schedules stops--leaving the ground crew far behind.
With each passing stop we would make the decision to keep going knowing
we had roughly 3 hours of fuel onboard. For most of the way all of the
birds followed one aircraft leaving the other two pilots with little to
do except watch the passing countryside."
reports, "All sixteen cranes made the entire flight, and even took
time after landing briefly to "thermal" with some Turkey Vultures
as they circled over the field. Once the pen crew arrived, cranes were
led into their enclosure at 1:30 p.m. It was a LONG day! Some ground team
members were still on the road at 6:24 p.m." (You remember
that the cranes have about 1225 miles to cover by air, but road travelers
log over 1600 miles.) Heather predicts that they'll cross the Florida
line tomorrow morning!
birds and cranes are now in Terrell County, Georgia, with 954.1 miles
of their journey behind them. WAY TO GO, you amazing, wondrous Whooping
Cranes! WAY TO GO, you awesome pilots and ground crew! We are jumping
This! Journaling Questions/Activity
- How fast
is a 16-knot tailwind? (Knots X 1.15 = miles)
year's young cranes flew 7 days in a row at the end of their migration.
What was the average distance they covered on those daily flight legs?
chart for dates/distances.) If this year's cranes fly that distance
daily, by what date could they finish their 1225-mile migration?
- With today's
awesome progress, it's time to get ready to celebrate the cranes' arrival
by folding your own origami cranes and suspending them from the ceiling
with string. You'll find all the folding
North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).
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