Would planes be better if they were more like birds?

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REVAN

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That is rather a LARGE transformation you have made from the base file(ATTACHED)

WELL DONE!

Or maybe I did not find the same STL you started with?



View attachment 116092
That's the file I used. Like I said it was lumpy and lacked detail, especially around the wingtips. I essentially cut off the wing tips and then added my own wing-grid, spanning the "tip feathers" to approximate the wing profile and using the images from the video to eyeball the vertical spread of the grid.

@henryk : I like the idea of flapping wing propulsion. I think it has vastly more potential than propellers. However, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to make flapping technology functional. One big obstacle, as I see it, is the landing gear. Flapping wings and a fixed rolling undercarriage don't mix. Something has to be done to accommodate the wings' flapping on takeoff, or it will never achieve an effective level of operation. I can see using wheels on the ground, but at a minimum, it will need some kind of leg that moves in coordination with the flapping.

Better still is to skip the wheel and just make it run. That used to be a very sci-fi proposition, but the folks at Boston Dynamics seem to have made significant progress on that front. Maybe it isn't that sci-fi of an idea any more.

The other option is to use the wings for the landing gear, and do a jump takeoff like a pterosaur. It will need the ability to release a big jolt of energy for the jump, but the landing-gear/leg problem largely goes away and you get the added benefit of a zero-roll jump takeoff. It would make the ultimate STOL bush-plane.
 

REVAN

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I scaled the Owlet up from a model to something big enough to put my 6 foot man model inside. With the wide body, it's got a lot of elbow room.

Length = 10' 8"
Span = 26'
Wing Area = 130 square feet (including the lifting tail)

Something like this could make a great glider for thermal soaring.

Owlet_Rev2.jpg

PS - I could probably make it a little smaller overall if I made the body a little deeper in the belly like the owl this was modeled after.
 

jedi

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Looking forward to some performance numbers and an X-Plane model.

Can you expand it to the 4 or 6 seat cross country model?

I still needs a propeller somewhere. Will the demands ever quit?

How much does it cost and when can I get one? Will it be certified and offered as a 51% EAB kit?

Are you taking orders yet and will there be a marching band at the KOSH display?

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :fear:
 
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jedi

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OK! I will impersonate the late James Bede innovative aircraft designer. Follow me on the "Thread Drift Pages".


I need to practice my promotional skills and will be offering a tremendous savings on early delivery positions. Step right up folks. You won't believe what you see and hear with your own eyes and ears.

:pilot: :cool: 🤞🗣✍👮‍♂️
 
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BJC

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Birds have better pilots; the pilot is, literally, “at one” with the flying apparatus.


BJC
 

jedi

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I scaled the Owlet up from a model to something big enough to put my 6 foot man model inside. With the wide body, it's got a lot of elbow room.

Length = 10' 8"
Span = 26'
Wing Area = 130 square feet (including the lifting tail)

Something like this could make a great glider for thermal soaring.

View attachment 116099

PS - I could probably make it a little smaller overall if I made the body a little deeper in the belly like the owl this was modeled after.
I recommend keeping the same size but adding the extra depth as an internal belly storage pod/fuel tank/engine compartment/landing gear retract area/crush zone for hard landing protection/etc.

Also could you add a little mouse or small dog to the foreground.
 

Toobuilder

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Anybody look at the yellow flappy thing in post 23 and think that the artist who did that computer animation has never been in an airplane? Flat turns? Mere inches of wing tip clearance on the downstroke? What happens in a "wing down" crosswind landing, or the oleo's compress on a hard landing or even body roll on taxi? Notice the complete lack of vibration in the cockpit while that big mechanism is thrashing away driving the wings? And how about maintenance - can you imagine the fatigue cycles on every part of that thing?
 

Martin W

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.

I love birds and how elegantly some are designed .

But when it comes to us trying to implementing them into our own aircraft .... my first thought and comment was going to be .... birds fly slow and we want fast.

Before I made a fool of myself I decided to look up the fastest birds .... amazing , 80 to over 100 mph in horizontal flight and double that in dives.


List of birds by flight speed - Wikipedia

.
 

henryk

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while that big mechanism is thrashing away driving the wings? And how about maintenance -
=crancshaft mechanic is not good for flapping thrusters....
see de Laur ornithopter !

-it should be hydraulic technic...

"birds fly slow and we want fast. "

-in urban transport NOT so fast...
 

REVAN

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Looking forward to some performance numbers and an X-Plane model.

Can you expand it to the 4 or 6 seat cross country model?

I still needs a propeller somewhere. Will the demands ever quit?

How much does it cost and when can I get one? Will it be certified and offered as a 51% EAB kit?

Are you taking orders yet and will there be a marching band at the KOSH display?

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :fear:
I'm not sure of a clear path to power the Owlet. If we want to put propellers on it, that may warrant some level of architectural change. Flapping wings are likely a bridge-too-far.

I'm also not sure about how to make the wing-grid. That's something that is easy to draw in concept, but hard to design and build so that it will function properly. Man made wing-grids have, thus far, been rigid structures. This makes them fragile and heavy. A good wing-grid design will be lightweight and flexible enough to resist damage. It should have variable geometry to facilitate aerodynamic control and wing folding. A lofty goal for sure; this may be a long time coming.

Perhaps a quicker and more effective path to success is to change the original question from,

Would planes be better if they were more like birds? to

Would planes be better if they were more like pterosaurs?, and work with a membrane wing design instead of trying to copy a feather-based architecture.

Pterosaurs have many, if not all, of the same dynamic flight attributes and advantages that birds have. They were advanced flyers, some of them with wingspans well into the 30 foot range. Pterosaurs were like living ultralights, so we know that their tech is capable of effectively scaling up to at least ultralight size ranges and quite possibly beyond.

Losing the wing-grid will require a longer wingspan to get similar induced drag, likely increasing the aerodynamically equivalent wingspan from the Owlet's 26 feet to about 32 feet for a membrane wing. So long as it folds nicely for ground storage, I don't think the increased span is going to be an issue until we start flying down through the trees.

How much does it cost?

I'll answer that with a question. How much should it cost?

There is no structure defined for the Owlet, and no materials chosen. We need to define what this thing is going to be and what it will accomplish. I'm open to hearing some ideas.
 
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jedi

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Before you drop the wing grid concept please report what is the exposed span and aspect ratio of the grid feathers and the overall aspect ratio of the wing assuming the grid is a solid wing?
 
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D Hillberg

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As far as safety level, you don't hear stories of birds crashing on takeoff, or fatalities from a bird crash (unless running into something hard...). Seems like they're pretty safe, since even baby birds can learn to fly well in very short order.
Spend more time watching birds
They crash
hit wires & burn
some seagulls Do rolls
50% of duck landings are crashes
falcons and hawks
fried chicken
:fear:
 
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