Would planes be better if they were more like birds?

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jedi

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The longest grid feather is about 40 inches long and 8 inches wide.
Aspect ratio of 5. Good plan.

How much variation is there from feather to feather in span and aspect ratio in your model? Could one feather part number be used for the grid with right hand and left hand designated feathers.

Staggered sockets would very the exposed span.
 

REVAN

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Aspect ratio of 5. Good plan.

How much variation is there from feather to feather in span and aspect ratio in your model? Could one feather part number be used for the grid with right hand and left hand designated feathers.

Staggered sockets would very the exposed span.
They all have the same width, except the last one, which I reduced to make it fit. More planning, and I would have made them all the same width. Lengths are approximately 31, 40, 39, 37, 31, 23 and 12 inches, seven tip feathers in all.
 

WINGITIS

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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.
An upside down Corsair wing assembly, or something similar, should do for the wing structure!?

OWL INVERTED.pngdwg-assy-371-main-beam.jpgdwg-assy-339-center-sec.jpgunnamedhrr.jpg
 

jedi

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So anybody on the forum have inverted time in a Corsair? Did it flair and land any slower? Maybe their is something to those bird tails that were popular in the pre-war planes. That would be The Great War (https://www.youtube.com/user/thegreatwar) not all those funny looking planes that were in the sequel.

 
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WINGITIS

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So anybody on the forum have inverted time in a Corsair? Did it flair and land any slower? Maybe their is something to those bird tails that were popular in the pre-war planes. That would be The Great War (https://www.youtube.com/user/thegreatwar) not all those funny looking planes that were in the sequel.

Upside down Corsair time is usually only during landings, at least in the good pics available!

F4U1_1942-43_flipover-USSBunkerHill-1.JPG
 

jedi

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An upside down Corsair wing assembly, or something similar, should do for the wing structure!?

View attachment 116139View attachment 116140View attachment 116141View attachment 116142
Sorry, but I think you are missing the big picture.

The Corsair had a folding wing. The owl has a folding wing.

The Corsair is stressed for maybe 12 Gs. The owl is stressed for maybe two Gs.

All that wing fold and structure of the Corsair fights nature in addition to the Rising Sun. All that wing folding mechanism of the owl turns wind gusts into thrust and lift and reduces the loads while providing excellent maneuverability and control.

If the owl had the Corsair wing structure it would most likely starve to death and the world would be overrun with rodents if for no other reason than the owl would blow away in the first big wind storm.

PS; Did you notice the Corsair is on the center line and at what could be the three wire. Looks like a good landing to me. Plot probably walked away.

UAL had someone do that in the simulator once (land inverted). He shut the sim down and went home. Next crew got in and the gyros righted themselves. None of the crew, instructors or mechanics could figure out why when they pulled back on the yoke to rotate at VR the airplane wouldn't respond.

Lost a full day of simulator time before someone finally figured it out.

You acro pilots out there be careful. You never know what that fool of a pilot that last flew the plane may have done to your ride.
 
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jedi

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Upside down Corsair time is usually only during landings, at least in the good pics available!

View attachment 116147
I have seen birds do some hairy landings but have never seen one do that! If one did it would likely just get up and walk away to fly another day.

OK, that's not really fair. Scale does make a difference. Reference a locust typical landing! Sorry Google was no help.
 
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WINGITIS

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Sorry, but I think you are missing the big picture.

The Corsair had a folding wing. The owl has a folding wing.

The Corsair is stressed for maybe 12 Gs. The owl is stressed for maybe two Gs.

All that wing fold and structure of the Corsair fights nature in addition to the Rising Sun. All that wing folding mechanism of the owl turns wind gusts into thrust and lift and reduces the loads while providing excellent maneuverability and control.

If the owl had the Corsair wing structure it would most likely starve to death and the world would be overrun with rodents if for no other reason than the owl would blow away in the first big wind storm.
It just needs the SPRINGY WINGS added as per POST #5!

Sure it wont do over 400 MPH using mouses as food! Well maybe if you compress a few million of them and leave them underground for a few hundred thousand years....
 

WINGITIS

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I have seen birds do some hairy landings but have never seen one do that! If one did it would likely just get up and walk away to fly another day.
There are some BIRDS doing CORSAIR landings and worse(LOOP THE LOOPS) in this Video! But yes they do walk away afterwards....

 

REVAN

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A couple more Pictures to keep the imagination going....

Owlet_Rev3_1.jpg
Owlet_Rev3_2.jpg

What should be done with this idea? I like it more than I thought I would, but don't know how to power it or make it. That big dome window in front makes me think it could make a good UAV observation and spy platform. It looks so much like a bird that it could get close without drawing attention to itself. That could be useful.
 

BJC

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You acro pilots out there be careful. You never know what that fool of a pilot that last flew the plane may have done to your ride.
That is good advice. Will also note that birds don’t do negative g flight, so aerobatics with an airplane akin to a bird would be very limited.


BJC
 

WINGITIS

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A couple more Pictures to keep the imagination going....

View attachment 116150
View attachment 116151

What should be done with this idea? I like it more than I thought I would, but don't know how to power it or make it. That big dome window in front makes me think it could make a good UAV observation and spy platform. It looks so much like a bird that it could get close without drawing attention to itself. That could be useful.
Its dying to be an RC model for sure....maybe a sim in X-PLANE?

Those ribs under the wings, that were at the edge of the Muscle group on the Owl could possibly be removed?

I tested the various cross sections as airfoils with XFLR5 and none of the owl ones were that great!!!????

Could we have a pic from above and beneath and maybe an STL?

From the original STL I have the GREEN OWL banked and flying round in a circle with OWL Squawk's, Ive tried to load it here but the HBA says MP4 is not supported, I dont know what formats the HBA supports?
 

Aesquire

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I was launch director at a regional hang gliding meet, and the last one off was this nice lady who was a bit intimidated by the site. ( Mt. Utsayantha ) We offered encouragement, and I was very patient, and when she finally took off, a few hundred feet out a large hawk flew over and looked her over. Then flew out in front of her, and led her to a thermal ( Turkey vultures lead you to sink so they can laugh ) and she followed him around for about 15 minutes, while the folk on the launch were watching, and complaining no one had a video camera. ( this was the pre-cell days ) Because no one would ever believe us. The the hawk turned, flew formation for a few minutes, then again pulled ahead, and did a barrel roll, and a loop. Returned to formation. when the girl shook her head and refused to copy him, he rolled out, and flew away, wings still, and gaining altitude as he went around the corner of the mountain. She flew off toward landing, and did just fine.

That has to go in her list of peak moments.

I frankly don't care if you believe me or not. I was there, and had multiple witnesses.
 

Beragoobruce

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Some years ago I worked on automating lighthouses in UK. I climbed to the top outside gallery one morning where I found a number of dead birds. They were apparently migrating, and flew into the lantern windows when distracted by the light.

I casually picked one up & launched it off the top, some 140 feet above sea level. Predictably, it plummeted into the sea. So I held the wings spread with the next one, secured by a bit of coat hanger wire, but it went into a flat spin.

Eventually I got one to glide almost level by attaching a cardboard fin (vertical stabiliser)above the fan tail.

One reason planes are not like birds is that planes, lacking the complex shape shifting wings & tails, and the superb fly-by-wire type responses of birds, need vertical fins to achieve basic stability.
 

jedi

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A couple more Pictures to keep the imagination going....

View attachment 116150
View attachment 116151

What should be done with this idea? I like it more than I thought I would, but don't know how to power it or make it. That big dome window in front makes me think it could make a good UAV observation and spy platform. It looks so much like a bird that it could get close without drawing attention to itself. That could be useful.
Add the additional depth under the body as previously suggested* and a couple of good size duct inlets under the wing at the root. Put a small beak on it for an instrument probe. Fair the after body into the tail. Round the main wing tip and extend the aft wing grid feathers so that the aft feathers are longer and angle the aft feathers forward at the root so that they connect with the wing spar area.

* Edit: The belly should be deep enough that the prone pilot can extend his arms vertically downward and be able to comfortably reach the inside bottom of the belly.
 
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REVAN

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One reason planes are not like birds is that planes, lacking the complex shape shifting wings & tails, and the superb fly-by-wire type responses of birds, need vertical fins to achieve basic stability.
Planes have shape shifting wings as well. They just don't shape shift effectively for good stability and control. I've often stated that ailerons are a terrible roll control system. IMO, they need to be eliminated from future aircraft. There are better ways, but people keep designing the same old technology that sort of works, or at least works in a way that is predictably bad such that pilot training can usually compensate for the poor flight dynamics of a control system that fights the coordinated turn a pilot wants to accomplish.

Wing-grids can be used to replace the ailerons on a wing. Properly manipulating the wing-grid elements can achieve pro-verse yaw roll control. The thrust-producing wing-grid adds yaw stability to the wing such that a properly implemented grid control system will eliminate the need for a vertical stabilizer or a rudder on the airplane, and it will not take fly-by-wire to make it work.
 

Victor Bravo

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Well, you guys just missed it totally by a mile. One of the most clever and highly trained aero engineers, Albion Bowers, has adapted how and why birds work so well, and incorporated it into the design of the airplane wing. He studied and researched the work of Ludwig Prandtl, and studied the wings of highly efficient birds, and realized how to "defeat" or minimize the loss of efficiency created by the "wingtip vortex". Mother Nature figured this out and tweaked the bird DNA to allow them to eliminate the tip vortex, moving this inefficiency inboard to something like 60-70% of span, and greatly reducing its intensity. When this feature (different geometric wing twist) is designed into an airplane it results in a longer span with 15%+ drag reduction at the same weight and structure of wing spar.
 
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