Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Secrets of a Bug's Flight

Nov. 12, 2013 — Researchers have identified some of the underlying physics that may explain how insects can so quickly recover from a stall in midflight -- unlike conventional fixed wing aircraft, where a stalled state often leads to a crash landing. 

The analysis, in which the researchers studied the flow around a rotating model wing, improves the understanding of how insects fly and informs the design of small flying robots built for intelligence gathering, surveillance, search-and-rescue, and other purposes. The work is described in the journal Physics of Fluids.

An insect such as a fruit fly hovers in the air by flapping its wings -- a complex motion akin to the freestyle stroke in swimming. The wing rotates in a single plane, and by varying the angle between the plane and its body, the insect can fly forward from a hovering position.


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