Rollin' with the Changes

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Written by Thom Lewis
Sunday, May 08, 2011

Thom LewisWell, I told you things can change, but this change has nothing to do with habitat or bird behavior. I was informed that, due to the limited time that pilot John Rayfield will be available to help us this year, portions of our survey area (specifically, stratum 55 in northern New York and stratum 52 in southern Ontario) will be covered by other crews.

I spent the better part of last week building and testing a portable survey data recording system to be used in John’s plane. Our survey aircraft have systems installed that allow us to record our observations on a computer and have them geo-referenced with a GPS so we know where we made the observations. Since John’s plane isn’t set up with this system, I assembled all the components together in a box. All we have to do is power it up with a connection to a cigarette lighter plug in the plane. I tested it using a cigarette lighter plug in a truck and all went well. Let’s hope it works as well in the plane. Once I get it installed in the plane I’ll post a photo. I copied the system from one designed by pilot-biologist Walt Rhodes and Doug Tucci, our IT person. They should get credit for the design.

John and I launch tomorrow from Nashville, TN, en route to Ottawa, Canada, to get our survey started.