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NOTAM: Volunteer Pilot Newsletter for October

Wood Storks, Farming, conservation, aerial photo

Here at LightHawk's headquarters in Fort Collins, Colorado, autumn has just about ended! The golden aspen have shed their leaves, and we've already had a few snow storms. While the sun is winding down, our pilots are not! Volunteer pilots have been out in force since the last NOTAM!


LightHawk stars in New Hampshire PBS documentary.



Host Willem Lange meets a group of pilots who donate their planes, fuel and time to volunteer on fascinating conservation projects throughout North America.

Our cameras follow LightHawk pilots on missions in northern New Hampshire, California and Mexico.

In New Hampshire we captured the work of NH Audubon as they look to solve the mystery of why Rusty Blackbirds are dying throughout the breeding ground.

In California, LightHawk pilots help track endangered California Condors. They work with biologists to help save the birds from death by lead poisoning.

Our cameras fly along with pilots in northern Mexico where efforts to restore water to the Colorado River Delta are underway. What was once a thriving ecosystem is now a desert.


Featured Mission: Wood Stork Habitat Near the Everglades

Wood Storks swarm a flooded farm field in Florida. Photo credit Randi Bowman, Lee Martin

On October 5, VP Kelly Gottlieb flew her Cessna P210 out of KIMM/Immokalee with 3 passengers from Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. The goal of the flight was to examine how Wood Storks, homely wading birds with 5 foot wingspans, are doing as the nesting season ramps up. In the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Wood Storks have been monitored since 1958! However, the number of chicks leaving the nest has plummeted from 5,450 chicks/year in 1958-1967 down to 287 chicks/year in the most recent decade. Quite an alarming drop for Wood Storks, who are key indicators of Everglades health, since they rely on swampy places to feed and nest.

Kelly flew Audubon scientists over flooded crop fields because they were interested in whether the Wood Storks were able to use the fields to feed.  And they do! The data they collect over a series of flight surveys will help show that ag lands are more valuable to wildlife than developed subdivisions. As more farms turn into houses, this is important data to combat sprawl.

See and learn more on their website:


LightHawk in the News!

The September California Condor lift was a hit with aviation publications, and there are more articles on the way. Keep an eye out in  COPA's magazine in the next few months. Thank you again to VP's Dan Marks, Lane Gormley, Scott Young, Rhon Williams, Ralph Britton, Terry Scott and Michael Baum (with son Matthew).


Welcome New VPS!

Colin Summers. Home Airport: Depends! WA/CA/MA . Colin has flown over 2,100 hours, and primarily flies a Diamond Twinstar (DA42).

Joe Reaves. Home Airport: KJSO. Joe has also flown over 1,950 hours and flies an Arion Lightning LS-1. He's currently building an RV-14.

Nadim Abuhaidar. Home Airport: KHCR. Nadim has flown over 6,000 hours and flies a Cessna T206H, Piper P46T, and an Extra EA300L. He's also highly active with Utah's Summit Land Conservancy with his wife and you may run across him at his OK3 AIR FBO at KHCR!

Jerry Edgerton. Home Airport: KPGD. Jerry has flown over 4,200 hours, and flies a Cessna C-172. He's passionate about the red tide issues facing Florida, and he found out about LightHawk through veteran LH photographer, Mac Stone!

Aron Wolf: Home Airport: KEMT. Aron has flown over 4,500 hours, and has access to a few different planes! Cessna 172's, and C-182RG, and a Piper PA28.  Aron is an aerospace engineer, and was referred to LightHawk by VPRick Durden!

Steve Kiss: Home Airport: IZA. Steve has flown 1000 hours and flies a Grumman American AA-5B. He's looking forward to flying missions around coastal protection!


LightHawk Business for Pilots

FAA Reauthorization Includes Liability Protection for Volunteer Pilots
If you missed Terri's letter about the ACA efforts in the latest FAA reauthorization, read it HERE.

More Efficient Insurance Updates
Please contact your insurer and ask that they send your updated certificates naming LH as additional insured via email to instead of snail mail. Time and paper saved!


VP News

Read VP Roy Lewallen's account of his 7,000 mile and 75.9 flight hour trip from Oregon to Kitty Hawk in his Cessna 150! Read it HERE.

Please send us any news you'd like to share for the next NOTAM! Contact NOTAM@lighthawk.or


Aviation News & Nature

Fall Foliage Flying & Photography
The best airports across the country for leaf peeping, plus great tips on how to get beautiful pictures from the plane!

Researchers See the Light to Reducing Bird Strikes
Researchers at Purdue University believe that adding externally mounted red and blue LED lights to aircraft might one day help reduce midairs with birds. They found that LED lights in these color spectrums lead some birds in the opposite direction, according to a study published recently.

Virgin Atlantic's Biofuel-Powered Airplane Flies to UK
A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 aircraft powered by industrial waste gas-derived jet fuel flew from Orlando, Fla., to London. The jet fuel, supplied by LanzaTech and developed with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, comes from carbon monoxide gases emitted by steel plants that are then fed to proprietary microbes, which convert them to alcohol that is then used for fuel production. Displacing jet fuel is a first step toward reducing the carbon footprint of flight.


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