Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fun Facts

Been on a paper crunch recently, so haven't had the time or wherewithal to post much.  I will try to get up some more real "articles" soon, but here are some fun flying/swimming facts for you guys in the meantime.  Some of these may turn into full posts:

- Flight is impossible without viscosity.  You can't generate lift in a superfluid.

- Advance ratio refers to the distance traveled relative to the number (or total arc) of foil/wing/tail strokes.  The highest advance ratio for a swimmer belongs to the manta and cownose rays, which use their entire body as a wing while aquaflying.

- The main flight muscles in more basal winged insects, like dragonflies, pull directly on the wing base.  In more derived taxa, the muscles typically pull primarily on the exoskeleton and beat the wings by flexing the body wall.

- The slots at the tip of bird wings reduced induced drag, but only are effective at low speeds for broad wings.  Broad-winged species only open the slots when flying slowly, and species with high-aspect ratio wings don't have slots.  Pelicans have the highest AR wings among those birds that use wingtip slots (AR 11-12).

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