From:  shan lung <shanlung9@y...>
Date:  Mon Apr 21, 2003  11:54 am
Subject:  Tinkerbell Free Flight Report 1 of 3

I am sorry that I did not get back here sooner. I had
hoped to come back on Saturday morning after the free
flight but events took a different turn.

I am making this report the way it is for the benefit
of all others who may want to free fly their charges.
This is a most serious undertaking and the risks must
clearly be known to all. In the spirit of those who
lost their charges and yet write that up in detail so
that another facet can be added to our collective
knowledge, I will now continue on.

This is a long report so please resist any replying
difficult as it may until the full report is done.

But first, why do I take such a risk. I love my
Tinkerbell. I have seen how much healthier she is
when she can fly around the house as against other
greys that I seen kept only in cages. I felt that
flying out in the open with that much more space will
yet make her that much better as against only flying
at home. I really felt I need to make such a step out
of love for her

You have seen the care and the steps that I have taken
on her route to free flight.

My plans for the weekend would be to take Tink for
free flight in the morning followed by afternoon in a
beautiful landscaped swimmingpool/ water complex in
Chiayi and then Sunday will see me at a major temple
festival in Peikang, a small town near Chiayi.

The morning saw us at the padi fields at a spot chosen
earlier by me. The day was cloudy with a bit of haze
that I can barely make out buildings 2 km away. It
was not raining with winds at a light breeze. Reading
the last email from Janet from freeflight, I did not
take my camera focusing myself on Tink and only Joy
will take the shots that you can see later.

The road was a cul de sac leading to a solitary grave
and chosen so that no vehicles will pass by us.

I parked the motorbike, switched off the ignition and
set up the basket, toys and carrier cage.

This was the moment of truth to me with nothing
between her and the sky. I felt 'safe' as we were at
least 1.5 km from nearest major groupings of building.
At the last semi freeflight, Tink got visibly winded
after 5-6 repitions of 30m flight even with rests in
between. Though the day was hazy, visibility was good
enough to see a high rise apartment 2 km away.

I opened the door with some trepidations.
Notwithstanding all that is said earlier, I have
nothing now between Tink and the sky or the horizon
but the bond that I felt we have and the earlier
experience that she always fly back to me.

She shyly looked out of the cage. A few seconds later
she clawed the door and step out on top of the cage.
That she did not fly away immediately was a big relief
and I continued on.

I tested her with a treat that she took and throw
away. I tried her again and she take it this time. A
test of 'touch target' was made with positive respond
which brought me some relief that she seemed ok and I
can continue on.

With my hand a couple feet from her, I recalled her
for he to hop and flap over to me. That got her
reward of seed and head rubs.

She moved on up to my shoulder and I thought I walk
her around a bit with her softly chatting away in my
ear. I head rubbed her and spoke quietly partly to
calm her down and mainly to calm the thumping beats of
my own heart.

She respond to 'touch target' well and after a few
minutes, I took her back to base to place her on
basket. Me and Joy just sat around there and talked
for a few minutes, again more to let our familar
voices calm her.

I then moved back 10 feet and did a recall. Tink
responded immediately to lots of seeds and head rubs.

I intended on one final recall so before that, I
thought I just walked about with Tink to a lotus pond
nearby. She remained on my shoulder and we chatted to
each other.

As I was walking back to base, she just took off. I
had no worries then but I thought 'wow, what a flight'
as she just climbed and climbed and climbed to well
over 100 feet above me to wheel around me in the
center of 50 meters. I thought I better recall her as
she must be getting tired.

At that moment, a few pigeons flew overhead and Tink
wheeled away from my recall to fly even higher to join

I still was not worried as earlier reports were that
they do not go far. I thought it will be interesting
enough for me to write here later that all earlier
conclusions that our charges fly low must be
reconsidered. I felt that our charges fly low also
from my own earlier experiences.

Tink joined up with them and then abruptly broke away
from that flock. She wheeled and flew yet further
away and fright now got to me. While I can see the
buildings far away in the haze, Tink was much harder
to spot. My verbal recalls were being ignored and I
cannot hope that she fly back to me. I shouted at my
wife to keep watch and I rushed to my bike cursing the
moments it took for me to take it down from the stand
and restart.

The bike will be kept running in future for immediate
respond if ever there is a next time.

I rushed after the bird with heart in my throat seeing
the various clumps of trees and knowing that Tink was
flying now towards a highway with a series of houses
beyond and even more padi fields and hamlets further

I kept wondering how can my Tink fly so far and so
high with no sign of tiring. My ealier assertions
that Tink can be kept in sight was true only if the
day is clear. On a hazy day, she disappeared and only
the general direction is known.

I told my wife to stay put in case Tink returned while
I bike up and down calling for her. I noticed the
wind was stirring the padi field leaves leaving
creating moving ripples. On other days, that can be a
beautiful sight but that moment, I was thinking if
that spooked Tink.

I really do not know but I knew I had to get her back.

After 40 minutes, I returned to my wife. I had to
channel the despair from my heart towards positive
steps in getting her back but I do not know where Tink
is. I took Joy back to get out the namecard flyers in
Chinese that I must leave behind. After she got that
out, I took 60. While Joy continued to do the posters
that I want to blanket that area, I went off to
systemmatically cover all those housing areas.

(to be continued)

With warmest regards

Joy - wife, Tinkerbell - CAG & surrogate daughter
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