Friday, April 10, 2009


Flight Plan

"To fly with precision, flying animals need to be able to maneuver and stabilize their course and orientation immediately following a change of direction. However, the dynamics of turning are poorly understood. Hedrick et al develop a framework for predicting maneuverability and stability in flying animals, then use it to predict turning dynamics of seven very different flying animals (including insects, bats, and birds). Geometrically similar animals have turning dynamics in "wingbeat time" regardless of size; fruit flies and hummingbirds both require the same number of wingbeats to finish a turn. An increase in wingbeat frequency allows animals to enhance both maneuverability and stability, two properties previously thought to be in opposition." Full article @ Science

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