Operation Migration hoping to get back in the air soon


A yearly north central Florida tradition is having trouble taking flight. Operation Migration, which leads a group of whooping cranes from Wisconsin to winter locations around Florida, is grounded in Alabama because of regulatory problems. Board of Directors member David Sakrison says if the dispute is not settled quickly, the birds may not make it to the sunshine state.


He says the FAA supports Operation Migration so they are working closely with the agency to get back off the ground. The regulation in question prohibits pilots flying a Light Sport Aircraft from flying for hire or to further a business or charity. Sakrison says the FAA has approved Operation Migration in inspection for years.


He says following an inspection in August, the FAA indicated it would further investigate Operation Migration, so the group voluntarily grounded its planes. He says they are now working on a waiver to exempt them from this regulation.


While the dispute is getting settled, the birds are being cared for in Alabama. Sakrison says the dispute could take days or weeks to settle, so the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership is working on a back-up plan for getting the birds to a winter location.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

Check Also

Four people stand in a creek with bags and tools for cleaning up.

Local waterway cleanup organization set to reach 1 million pounds of collected trash

A crushed Pepsi can, damp cigarette butts, a rusted tire wheel buried deep in soggy mulch. They’re part of the debris collected after a day’s work for Current Problems, an Alachua County-based waterway cleanup organization. By the end of the year, the junk-filled bags Current Problems hauls away at cleanups will reach a milestone: 1 million pounds of total trash collected.