Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Record in Ornithopter Flight!

Well, here's something you don't see everyday.  Back in August, grad student Todd Reichert from The University of Toronto set a new record for the longest flight of an ornithopter powered by a human being.  The aircraft weighs just 94 pounds and has a 32 meter wingspan!

HPO The Snowbird from U of T Engineering on Vimeo.

As its name suggests, the ornithopter is an aircraft that flaps its wings like a bird, and as you can see in the video, it needed a little help from a car towing it to get it going.  But once in the air, the flapping wings took over, and the craft flew for a record 19.3 seconds.

Something tells me we won't see commercial ornithopter flights anytime soon.  But it certainly is a graceful aircraft, don't you think?   And in seeing how difficult it is for us humans to achieve flight in this way -- you need extremely light-weight materials, an enormous wing to payload ratio, and a tow to get it aloft -- we can appreciate the exquisite gift of flight enjoyed by our cousins, the birds... a gift bestowed on them by evolution.

1 comment:

  1. very cool! thanks for sharing this and as a canadian i'm very proud.

    Rambles with Reese