2014 Florida Volunteer Updates

As the North Atlantic right whales migrate to the South Georgia/Northern Florida coast each winter volunteers help watch for and capture critical details related to this endangered species. This information helps scientists track the fate of the species and acts as a first alert system to pilots in the shipping lanes to avoid accidental killings. This blog shares the findings, photos and other pertinent information gathered from the Palm Coast Sector Volunteer Team while helping to connect and communicate the many ways we can protect the right whales and sustain our wonderful ocean life.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Marineland AirCam Surveys

For the last four years The Marineland Right Whale Project has utilized aircraft surveys to search for and identify right whales off the coast of northeast Florida. They do so using an AirCam, a unique twin-engine, conventional gear kit plane with an open cockpit that seats two people in a tandem arrangement. 

The first prototype AirCam was built here in Florida back in 1993 (see photo below) and was designed by Phil Lockwood. The AirCam was first commissioned by the National Geographic Society for research in Congo, Africa as they needed an aircraft that would be a safe and fuel efficient way to fly low, fly slowly,  provide a wide, unobstructed view and needing only a short distance for landings and take offs. The current generation (also below) has improved on the original prototype while keeping its basic form.  

Above: The 1993 AirCam Prototype
Below: the new and improved Lockwood AirCam (stock photo)

The Marineland AirCam right whale surveyors flew out of Hastings, FL yesterday (January 13) at 12:30pm and were only up for a short time when they sighted a mother right whale with her calf just 2 miles north of Matanzas Inlet and only about a mile offshore. They believe they know the mother identified as #3157. She is nine years old and this is her first calf. For more on this and other sightings this week please visit the Marineland Right Whale blog (link at left). 

Currently I am on Cape Cod, Massachusetts visiting with my parents and while I may not be able to get down to visit Associated Scientists at Woods Hole (ASWH) on this trip I may be able to get up to Provincetown to check out the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies. For more information on these organizations as well as the Lockwood AirCam see links to the left.  To all on my volunteer team, watch on!

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