Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Whooping Crane Flights to Continue

Whooping Cranes / USFWS Photo
The FAA granted Operation Migration a one-year waiver to the rule banning pilots to receive pay for playing ultralight aircraft.
Nine young whooping cranes grounded in Alabama since December can resume their winter migration to Florida guided by their surrogate mother -- an ultralight aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration decided today.

Because the endangered birds were in mid-migration, the FAA granted a one-time exemption to let Operation Migration continue, The New York Times says.

The hatchlings, the ultralight and its human pilot (wearing a bird costume) have been cooling their heels in Franklin County, Ala., about 550 miles from their final destination. They left Wisconsin in late fall.
Presumably this will allow the young cranes to reach their assigned wintering grounds in Florida before the winter ends. Meanwhile, Operation Migration will need to either work out its issues with the FAA or come up with a new plan for helping the birds migrate next fall.