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Photo: Operation Migration

Several Aircraft Work Together
A tiny fleet of planes is ready. The day's lead pilot flies the ultralight that launches with the birds. The chase pilots fly their ultralights behind. They help any birds that get tired or break away. How do the pilots know when a bird is tired and might drop out? What might be some signs?

A faster scout plane may fly ahead. The scout makes sure the next stopover site is free of people or animals. Finally, the top cover pilot flies a fast little Cessna. This pilot talks with air traffic controllers to clear the way for the birds and pilots.