Training camp 2003
Preliminary project 2002
Aktion Zwerggans decided to run a preliminary project in summer 2002 to teach its project activists ("foster parents", pilots) how to handle the Lesser White-fronted Geese. In this project a new type of aircraft, the Dragonfly, was tested to see whether it is suitable for flying with geese. The Dragonfly had some promising advantages - it is easier to handle for the pilots while flying, even at rough weather conditions.
Course of the preliminary project
The Lesser White-fronted Geese foreseen for training, hatched in June at Cottbus Zoological Garden. Nine goslings hatched and were raised and imprinted over weeks by Aktion Zwerggans members. After about three weeks these young geese were brought to a small airfield at Kleinkoschen in Brandenburg. Here, on the airfield grounds run- and flight training of the young birds together with the microlight aircraft took place.
In Kleinkoschen our young geese saw the aircraft for the first time - its engine sound however was already familiar to them as they had heard it on tape already inside the eggs. Thus they were not shy at all and started to run after the machine. When they were ready to fly after about five weeks, they were following the aircraft almost without problems. At the end of the project end of August, the nine Lesser Whitefronts were following the aircraft on flights surrounding the airfield. Western and Northern German TV broadcasted reports about the successful course of the preliminary project.
Link zur TV-Sendung
Successful test of microlight aircraft with floats
Straight after the preliminary project with geese in Kleinkoschen, last doubts regarding suitability of the microlight aircraft type could be wiped out. Up to then, no one had flown a Dragonfly with floats as it is needed for the project. Thus the first start was very exciting. But even with floats, this aircraft could still maintain its superb flying qualities. As on the journey through Finland and Sweden solely water landings would be possible, it was essential that the aircraft would function with floats.
Valuable information about how to work with Lesser Whitefronts was collected during this preliminary project. This new knowledge is crucial for the successful planning of the main project. The most important result of the preliminary project was that the new type of aircraft used, the Dragonfly, seems very suitable for flying from Lapland to Western Germany and that it could lead the geese. Especially its good and save flying qualities at low speed, easy steering as well as short starting and landing distances were convincing.
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