The Flying "V"
This Fall, when you
see geese heading south for the winter flying along in a "V" formation, you
might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way.
As each bird flaps
it's wings, it creates an uplift for the
following. By flying in V formation, the whole flock has at least 71% greater
flying range than if each bird flew on it's own.
People who share a
common direction and sense of common purpose can get where they are going more
quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
When a goose flies
out of formation, it suddenly feels that
drag and resistance of
trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of
the lifting power of the bird in front. It is harder to do something alone than
When the lead goose
gets tired, it rotates back into the
formation, and another
goose flies point at the head.
It is sensible to
take turns doing demanding jobs. Shared
interdependence give us each a chance to lead as well as opportunities to rest.
The geese in
formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
What do we say when
we honk from behind? We need to make sure our honking is encouraging and not
Finally, and this is
important, when a goose gets sick or wounded and falls out of formation, two
other geese will fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and
protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or it dies,
and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to
catch up with their flock.
If we have the sense
of a goose, we will stand by our colleagues and each other in difficult times as
well as in good.