Ever since the New Zealand Avian Travel Authority (NZATA) learned of the genetically-modified emu that can fly at low altitude for half a mile, it has been seeking ways to cash in.
Thought flightless for millennia, the national bird is now taking to the skies with small passengers on its back.
Initially, NZATA ran test flights with its own staff acting as guinea pigs but soon it discovered the emus simply couldn’t manage large weights and flight simultaneously. Indeed, the first “pilots” were unceremoniously dumped at heights of up to 200 feet, leading to more than a couple of scratches, as you can imagine.
But now, thanks to the brave volunteerism of members of the New Zealand Association of Retired Jockeys, children and adults weighing no more than 100 pounds can marvel as they fly along the emu route on South Island between Rolleston and Burnham just outside Christchurch.
At just US$ 10, children can take in the views, including Burnham Camp Golf Club, Pines Resource Recovery Park, Burnham Military Camp and the quaintly-named Lignite Drive.
Here’s a literal bird’s-eye view from the BS Travel Guide RemoteCam™, that we strapped to Buster, a six-foot-three emu:
“The route is a little dull,” says Gabe Shankshaft, 7, after his maiden voyage. “But wow, I can fly.”
NZATA is currently looking at more interesting half-mile routes all across the area just southwest of Christchurch.
“We want to get this working properly over flat grounds, easily accessible to medical crews,” said a spokeswoman for NZATA.
For more details: http://www.emulation.co.nz