Wednesday, May 23, 2012

V is for vulture

On a bus headed towards Washington, DC and watching some turkey vultures soar in the distance. They are easy to pick out because the fly with their wings in a vertical "v" shape - this is called a dihedral. A dihedral tends to stabilize a flyer in roll (though this depends on the sweep of the wings). In strong gusts, vultures will roll back and forth passively, which we call canting. Just a fun aero fact for the day.

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