Pilots Warned of Flying over Walrus Herds
“Federal wildlife officials have asked pilots to stay clear of a massive herd of walrus that has gathered in record numbers on a beach in northwest Alaska. An estimated 35,000 walruses were spotted about 5 miles north of Point Lay, Alaska, on Sept. 27 by scientists on a survey flight.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) requested that pilots fly at least 2,000 feet above the walrus herd and a half mile away from it. Helicopters were asked to fly 3,000 feet above and a mile away from the walruses, who were forced to swim to shore due to the lack of the sea ice that normally provides resting areas this time of year. No flights had been rerouted away from the beach, as some outlets previously reported, the Federal Aviation Authority told NBC News. The request from the FWS warned that walruses are sensitive to engine noise — a problem when planes fly low to get a better look at the animals — and aircraft could cause them to stampede.”
Byron Bay Gliding Club CFI Norm Sanders has considerable experience flying in Alaska.
Featured Image: NBC