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Temporary Exemption Allows Operation Migration to Resume Flight

January 9, 2012 - The FAA has issued a temporary exemption from the sport pilot regulations to Operation Migration allowing it to resume its light sport aircraft-led flight of whooping cranes to wintering grounds in Florida. The exemption is effective through the end of March and allows OM staff to lead the flock of endangered juvenile cranes to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Following the completion of this year’s flight, OM and the FAA will work together to come up with a permanent solution to the regulatory problem.

Here is the complete statement from the FAA, provided to EAA by OM board member David Sakrison:

Statement from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 9 Jan 2012
“The FAA has granted an exemption to Operation Migration that will allow pilots to continue to aid the whooping crane migration. Normally, the FAA limits light sport aircraft and pilots to personal flights without compensation. Because the operation is in “mid-migration,” the FAA is granting a one-time exemption so the migration can be completed. The FAA will work with Operation Migration to develop a more comprehensive, long-term solution.”

The birds are currently in pens in Franklin County, Alabama, being taken care of by OM staff and interns.
“It looks like the only thing that can hold us up now is the weather,” Sakrison quipped, as Northern Alabama experienced heavy rains.

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