Ode to the Pelican

Everybody loves the pelican. But when you are pinned down for several days by weather and hiding out in a caldera,

flying in ground effect (to save energy)
flying in ground effect (to save energy)
Only human sign of life on the shore of the caldera
Only human sign of life on the shore of the caldera
Shoreline and crystal clear water
Shoreline and crystal clear water

 

 

Bear in mind he is an amphibian. He’s smart enough to take off and land into the wind, and he uses his feet in several ways: to help him lift his weight on take-off, to keep his balance in slow flight, to soften his landings, and then for taxiing. He utilizes “ground effect” (flying low to the water in a cushion of air) to increase his efficiency. And he seems to have no trouble with rough fields, gusty winds or precision approaches to land on a pole. And did I mention his fishing skills?

Pair of pelicans hang together
Pair of pelicans hang together
Aileron corrections in gusty winds
Aileron corrections in gusty winds
Take off - just before retracting landing gear
Take off – just before retracting landing gear
Short field Take-off - with assistance from landing gear
Short field Take-off – with assistance from landing gear

1201_PV_2122-1

Safe in full flight
Safe in full flight
Gaining speed and altitude
Gaining speed and altitude
Full throttle on take off run (keep the wing tips clear of the water)
Full throttle on take off run (keep the wing tips clear of the water)
Full throttle on the take-off run
Full throttle on the take-off run
Short field landing with high angle of attack, full flaps and landing gear forward and down
Short field landing with high angle of attack, full flaps and landing gear forward and down
Notice the use of winglets for control
Notice the use of winglets for control
Gaining altitude just before retracting landing gear
Gaining altitude just before retracting landing gear
Gaining speed on the take off run
Gaining speed on the take off run

This old pilot wishes his take-offs and landings had been always this perfect. I’ll close with the first limerick I ever learned:

A wonderful bird is the pelican,

His bill will hold more than his belican,

He can take in his beak

Enough food for a week

But I’m damned if I see how the helican!

 

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2 thoughts on “Ode to the Pelican

  1. Howard:

    Great photos.

    Now, you know that those are Mexican birds. I’m waiting for the day when the cartels learn how to best use pelicans to transport drugs into the U. S. Then you could modify your verse, as follows:

    *The Mexican Pelican*

    A wonderful bird is this pelican ,

    His bill holds more coke than his belican,

    He can fly for a week

    With drugs in his beak

    But I’m damned if I see how the helican!

    *Bernie*

    Like

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