A series of test flights took place in Arudel today (July 14) ahead of the first ever attempt to follow the migration of the Bewick swan from air.
Sacha Dench, leader of the expedition ‘Flight of the Swans’, came to WWT Arundel Wetland Centre to prepare for her journey to find out why the bird’s numbers are declining so dramatically.
She plans to travel the distance alongside the swans in a paramotor – a wing of fabric from which Sacha will dangle with a propeller strapped to her back.
When speaking about the reason behind the expedition, Sacha said: “There are loads of different issues the swans may face, but none of the problems on their own are enough to cause such a huge drop in their population.
“When I’m following the swans I will be able to get data that no one has got before, as well as being able to speak to all the communities along the way.
“The people that will help us on the journey are the same people that need to know about the Bewick swan.”
Sacha is due to set off on her mission in September in the Arctic, once the Bewick swans take flight.
She will have to stop every three hours to refuel.
Flying at the same speed and height as the swans, Sacha will experience the wonders and dangers the swans face including heavy storms, sea crossings and extreme cold.
She will share their view with the world in real time using the latest digital camera technology and satellite communication.
“To prepare for the first stretch of the journey we I have been preparing myself for the cold conditions in a simulation room,” said Sacha.
“I have also had to take part in an intense first aid course, and next week I will be with thr RNLI practising what to do if I land in water tangled in my paramotor.”
For more information, visit www.wwt.org.uk
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