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   Undertoad  Monday Nov 5 10:50 AM

11/5: Ultralight leads cranes

A group of highly-endangered whooping cranes lives in Wisconsin at the Necedah national wildlife refuge. Problem: how to get them to migrate south for the winter successfully - especially to go to a place where they'll be safe.

Answer: LEAD them south via ultralight aircraft.

It seems as if last year's attempt to do this worked well - the cranes returned on their own - so this year they are doing it again, and you can track the results yourself at or at

A pic of last year's operation:

Joe  Monday Nov 5 02:48 PM

Oh wow

Some people have the COOLEST jobs!

"We need you to take this ultralight and fly it across the United States, alright?".

The ultralight shown is a "trike" model, more like a hang glider than an airplane. Note the absence of a tail!

MaggieL  Monday Nov 5 03:27 PM

Bill LIshman (the guy who started all this by learning how to get Canada Geese to fly formation with his ultralight) is cool. I met him at EAA Oshkosh in 1989 and got him to autograph a copy of his original video "C'Mon Geese!". Disney made a movie "Fly Away Home" which transplanted the "heartstrings" factor onto a little girl.

The video in "C'mon Geese" rocks, though. Talk about reality TV.

lisa  Tuesday Nov 6 07:01 AM

Fly Away Home

Yes, it's one of my favorite movies to watch with my daughter.

If you do rent (or own) the DVD, there's an "extra" on the DVD called "The Ultra Geese" which is a 20 minute or so documentary about the whole real-life operation. They even mention when they took time out from their other work to help in the making of the movie. Definitely worth a watch if you're into that sort of thing.

And yes, a Trike is more like a hang glider with a seat and an engine than an airplane -- it's steared by moving the CG with respect to the wing rather than using control surfaces. However, since it has an engine, it's still classified as an ultralight, not a hang glider.

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