Midwest Region


January 10, 2012

FAA Grants Waiver Allowing Ultralight-led Migration to Continue

The ultralight-led migration of nine whooping cranes, on hold in Franklin County, Alabama, pending FAA clearance, has been given the green light. 

Operation Migration, a member of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, is now mobilizing resources to continue guiding the young cranes to their wintering sites at St. Marks National and Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuges in Florida.

"As soon as the weather clears, we will be back flying," said David Sakrison, Operation Migration Board Member. "We appreciate the work FAA has done to help us get back in the air."

Statement from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 

“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 mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and download photos from our Flickr page at

Last updated: May 4, 2017