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Flight of Migrating Cranes Grounded by FAA

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January 09, 2012

Flight of Migrating Cranes Grounded by FAA

By Chad Love

Here's one from the "Oh 'Fer Cryin' Out Loud, Are You Freakin' Serious?" files. A flight of migrating whooping cranes on their way to Florida have been (I'm not making this up)--grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration. Ok, so it's not actually the cranes themselves that have been grounded, but the ultralight aircraft they think is their mother.

From this story on cbsnews.com:

Ten young whooping cranes and the bird-like plane they think is their mother had flown more than halfway to their winter home in Florida when federal regulators stepped in. Now the birds and the plane are grounded in Alabama while the Federal Aviation Administration investigates whether the journey violates regulations because the pilot was being paid by a conservation group to lead the cranes on their first migration instead of working for free.


FAA regulations say only pilots with commercial pilot licenses can fly for hire. The pilots of Operation Migration's plane are instead licensed to fly sport aircraft because that's the category of aircraft that the group's small, open plane with its rear propeller and bird-like wings falls under. FAA regulations also prohibit sport aircraft "which are sometimes of exotic design" from being flown to benefit a business or charity.

The rules are aimed, in part, at preventing businesses or charities from taking passengers for joyrides in sometimes risky planes. "That's a valid rule. They shouldn't be hired to do that. But it wasn't written, I believe, to stop a wildlife reintroduction," Joe Duff, an Operation Migration co-founder and one of its pilots, said. The conservation group has agreed voluntarily to stop flying and has applied to FAA for a waiver. "We're considering that waiver," FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said. He said he didn't know when a decision would be made or whether it would be made before spring, when the birds would return to Wisconsin.

Your thoughts?

Comments (10)

Top Rated
All Comments
from smccardell wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

We have air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job and near catastrophies happening in our skies and the FAA is getting their panties in a bunch about THIS???

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steward wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

One more argument why government needs to be small and, as a rule, needs to stay out of our business!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Plotner wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

this reminds me of a movie i saw in about 3rd grade which invloved candians teaching geese to migrate... even then i thought it was stupid

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Why in the blankety, blank will it take so long for the FAA to make such a simple decision?
We have too many laws and too many regulations.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

yeah damn those pesky rules that keep unfit planes out of the sky. this is obviously an extreme but theres no reason special consideration shouldn't be given swiftly.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Their pilot would have to be incredibly stupid if he/she didn't know the rules before taking off. I'm not sure I want someone that dumb plugging up the airways and putting other people's lives at risk. It would have been pretty darned easy to circumvent that regulation and I'm sure it's being done every day by others. I have to wonder if this isn't some kind of publicity stunt. I mean, how the hell did they find out the guy was being paid if either he or the charity didn't leak that info to the FFA? If it is a publicity stunt, and I'm pretty damned sure it is, I hope they keep the clowns grounded for as long as possible. I'd not be very happy with idiots who deliberately waste government regulators' time just to make some kind of statement or call attention to themselves or their cause. They can pay for their damned advertising just like everyone else!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Look out Santa, you are next!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Take a group of people trying to do good for something and you always have a small group of sycophants whining about it!

I would grant a waiver immediately without a second thought!

Anyone want to challenge me in Aerospace,

BRING IT ON!

YA'BUDDY!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Paul Wilke wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Crap.
He's not flying for hire, he's guiding for hire and flying for free.
Get a clue.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from brktrt-18 wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Rules are put in place for a reason. This flight is breaking those rules so should be grounded pending the waiver process. Waivers are granted all the time but need to be requested before the flight.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from smccardell wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

We have air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job and near catastrophies happening in our skies and the FAA is getting their panties in a bunch about THIS???

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Their pilot would have to be incredibly stupid if he/she didn't know the rules before taking off. I'm not sure I want someone that dumb plugging up the airways and putting other people's lives at risk. It would have been pretty darned easy to circumvent that regulation and I'm sure it's being done every day by others. I have to wonder if this isn't some kind of publicity stunt. I mean, how the hell did they find out the guy was being paid if either he or the charity didn't leak that info to the FFA? If it is a publicity stunt, and I'm pretty damned sure it is, I hope they keep the clowns grounded for as long as possible. I'd not be very happy with idiots who deliberately waste government regulators' time just to make some kind of statement or call attention to themselves or their cause. They can pay for their damned advertising just like everyone else!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steward wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

One more argument why government needs to be small and, as a rule, needs to stay out of our business!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Plotner wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

this reminds me of a movie i saw in about 3rd grade which invloved candians teaching geese to migrate... even then i thought it was stupid

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Why in the blankety, blank will it take so long for the FAA to make such a simple decision?
We have too many laws and too many regulations.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

yeah damn those pesky rules that keep unfit planes out of the sky. this is obviously an extreme but theres no reason special consideration shouldn't be given swiftly.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Look out Santa, you are next!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Take a group of people trying to do good for something and you always have a small group of sycophants whining about it!

I would grant a waiver immediately without a second thought!

Anyone want to challenge me in Aerospace,

BRING IT ON!

YA'BUDDY!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Paul Wilke wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Crap.
He's not flying for hire, he's guiding for hire and flying for free.
Get a clue.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from brktrt-18 wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Rules are put in place for a reason. This flight is breaking those rules so should be grounded pending the waiver process. Waivers are granted all the time but need to be requested before the flight.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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