Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

December 2, 2003
Day 48

GPS Says No Go

What are they thinking?
Photo OM

After yesterday's record-smashing progress, the team is bummed at standing down. Heather said, "I suppose we have no right to be disappointed, but it's difficult to stay upbeat when we fully expected to reach Florida today based on the favourable winds that were forecasted to arrive." Weather is clear and cold, but winds were Southeast at 8-10 mph.  For today, they're stuck at 954.1 miles (Statute) in Terrell County, Georgia—with Florida just one stop away.

How did the pilots know the winds were NOT what was forecasted? They took a test flight. Once the three pilots were airborne, their Global Positioning System (GPS) units showed a ground speed of zero mph. In fact, at one point they were moving BACKwards in the winds! How does the GPS unit work? Take a close up look at the ultralight's GPS here:

Map the Migration
Make your own map using the latest migration data

Try This! Journaling Question
  • Since the ultralight airplanes flying with the cranes have GPS receivers, why do you think they also have altimeters and speedometers?
  • Take a close look at today's photo (click to enlarge). Can you imagine what these cranes are thinking? Write some photo captions or dialog balloons for them.

Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the

Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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