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Flapping Solar Aircraft (The Bird Plane)

Several years ago I attended a meeting of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts in Atlanta GA. The topics ranged from intelligent swarms of micro satellites to space tethers, the idea of using rotating tethers to fling items from earth orbit to the tramadol no prescription free overnight shipping moon. I was in Geek overdrive.

One of viagra tablet weight the NIAC studies that caught my attention is an exploration of the concept of a solar airplane that used flapping motion for propulsion. The text below is in part from a press release from the Ohio Aerospace Institute.

Due to recent advances in polymers, photovoltaics, and batteries, the development of a revolutionary type of unmanned aircraft may now be feasible. This flight vehicle would integrate airfoil, propulsion, energy production, energy storage, and control into one seamless design with no conventional mechanical moving parts. The integration of these components comprises the “Solid State” aircraft concept that has wide implication for terrestrial and planetary flight applications.

The most innovative aspect of this concept is the use of tramadol online c o d an ionic polymeric-metal composite (IPMC) as the source of control and propulsion. This material has the unique ability to canada cialis prescription deform in the presence of an electric field like an artificial muscle, and return to its original shape when the cheap discount viagra canada cialis generic field is removed. Combining the IPMIC with emerging thinfilm batteries and thin-film photovoltaics provides both energy source and storage in the same structure.

Combining the unique characteristics of these materials enables flapping of the aircraft wing to generate the main propulsive force. With a flight profile similar to that of a hawk or eagle, the Solid State Aircraft will be able to soar for long periods of time and utilize flapping to regain lost altitude. During Phase I work on this concept, analysis was performed on the glide duration, flap duration, wing length, and wing motion of viagra online in usa travel. It was determined that a versatile, robust, advanced aeronautical architecture can be produced taking into account these parameters. This architecture would enable flight over a broad flight envelope comprised of a range of latitudes and natural viagra times of the year on Earth, Venus, and Mars.

And check out the somewhat ridiculous movie after the jump.

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Comments (33)Add Comment
Nice vid
written by Joetek, May 15, 2007
Cool technology.. nice vid! How big are these things?
Size Varies
written by John Barrie, May 15, 2007
The NASA study showed 3 - 100 meter wing spans for flight on Earth or Venus. 250 meters for flight on Mars.

Thanks for the comment.

Why flap if there is no air ?
written by San_j, May 16, 2007
Whats the 5mg cialis uk point of flapping wings on Mars or Venus ? Do they have air or some kind of gas there ?
written by Hank, May 16, 2007
Both Venus and Mars have atmospheres. Mars is less dense than our's and mostly composed of carbondioxide. Venus, has a thick atmosphere...and is also mostly CO2.
Cool technology
written by Hans, May 19, 2007
It would be great to see someday these things flying over our heads. But most impressing than the technology, the concept or the video is the commentary! This guy is great!
written by Todd, May 19, 2007
Paint those things all black and they'd make an excellent psychological deterrent on the battle field.
written by Drew, May 19, 2007
Okay so the idea of flapping wings seems neat to others....but think about it...imagine if they turned these things into weapons or even survailance (sp?)
vid++ comentator--
written by Bob, May 19, 2007
Cool vid. Had to mute it...couldn't stand that geeky kid.
written by TravisM, May 19, 2007
Loved the commentary bob up there doesn't know good geeky comedy when he see's it ;p
written by Anjin, May 19, 2007
Worst Ze Frank impression ever.
good stuff
written by Skepsis, May 19, 2007
I liked the commentary.

Pretty fascinating stuff.
written by alex, May 19, 2007
smilies/wink.gif smilies/sad.gif smilies/sad.gif smilies/cool.gif smilies/cool.gif
written by Rob, May 19, 2007
the dude was funny and like 72.668% entertaining
I like the video AND the narrator!
written by Ralph, May 19, 2007
That guy is actually very good! He gets across his interest, and also communicates some of the weirdness of those proposed birdplanes.
I got a chuckle
written by Tyler, May 19, 2007
So great. they can fly on mars... For what? To re verify its got a low density atmosphere? Race other flapping flappers? Spy on martians we haven't found? The day it drops off kids like a stork, then repost... The guy was so stupid i found it kinda funny though...
Good to hear
written by Hank, May 19, 2007
Thanks for the comments on the video. I have a hard time taking video blogging so seriously and it's nice to see that 72.6888% of you thought it was worth watching.

As for "worst ze frank impersonation ever" you're absolutely right...I am inspired by Ze and am a pale imitation...but I don't need to be as good as Ze...because Ze is gone now, and I'm all you've got left.

For real, thanks for the comments, I'm looking forward to doing more EcoGeek video stuff.
Not going to viagra viagra online work
written by charles, May 19, 2007
This will not work. When it flap down, the "bird" goes up but when it flap up, the "bird" will go down. What makes it go up can also go down in reverse.
afrodream 'n' beaded sandals
written by afrodream 'n' beaded sandals, May 19, 2007
One think for sure it's a step forward. Be it for mars or any other planet out there. The inovation is a mile forward in reaserch. I bed they will used it for cleaner purpose and towards mankind benefits. Be be blessed smilies/wink.gif
Ok seen it...
written by Mr Car Parts, May 19, 2007
I was looking for somthing other than a 3D animation
Not Going to Work?
written by Hank, May 19, 2007
@charles -
Ummmm... birds fly in the exact same way as this thing, and they have millions of years of works.

The wings flapping actually just provides propulsion, while the buy canadian viagra online shape of the wing provides lift (just like the shape of airplane wings provide lift.)
written by reijo, May 20, 2007
This new material is not that new, and its very expensive too. But there is one very big problem, they have somekindof delay. So this movement will not be sudden.

And btw they are making this material here, in estonian labs aswellsmilies/wink.gif
very cool, but...
written by jerky, May 21, 2007
Beautiful design. Very elegant and efficient looking. One question though- i see no vertical stabilizers of any kind. What's to keep it from spinning all over the place in any kind of wind? They've had that problem with flying-wing type aircraft ever since the 40's, so they should know about this. There's no ailerons or any kind of control surfaces, but i'm going to go ahead and online pharmacy cost levitra assume it uses wing warping to steer like the wright brothers did. Maybe they use the wing warping for yaw stabilzation.
written by juppper, May 22, 2007
no crappy voice over....
written by RealityBytes, May 27, 2007
Funny I was just thinking about peak oil and flight the other day. I was wondering if it would ever be possible to power a commercial jet through batteries alone. Perhaps my luggage will be getting lost on one of these.
Simply flapping symetrically up and down
written by Tachy, June 18, 2007
...doesn't work at all. It doesn't push the aircraft up. Look at birds, they're flapping upwards folding the wings in a difficult way as they're flapping down...

So it's not easy to build a flapping-machine siply bolding the viagra jelly uk wings up and down.....

nobody knows how birds fly
written by Robert, July 03, 2007
An important reason for our lack of how can i buy cialis in canada understanding about flapping flight is the problem that we are unable to see or measure the reaction of the air as the bird moves through will become clear that aerodynamic theories explaining how conventional airplanes fly, are not sufficient to clarify flapping flight in birds. This solar aircraft is not able to fly. I can know it, please have a look at:
i´m starting to how to get levitra no prescription build that wing
written by k-a jansson, July 06, 2007
yes, that wing interested me,
start with regular flapping wing devises
plus solar panel, insted of lipoly
best reg from
janne sweden
is it possible ?
written by abi, March 29, 2008
is it possible for humans to travel inside it .....
written by Robert Love, May 22, 2008
I'm a researcher at the University of Florida working with flapping wings and it is important to note that this was mainly a concept demonstration of a new material being applied to an aerospace problem, not necessarily giving the final design of the "bird".

To respond to some other comments:
We do a lot of research into wing morphing and have shown you can use morphing to control roll/pitch/yaw, although the techniques to do this are still under extensive investigation.

We may not know exactly how a bird flies, although researchers have been studying them for almost 100 years (or more!), so we've got a pretty good idea.

In terms of visualizing the flow, we can do that very well, but predicting the flow requires computationally expensive calculations, so it's more of a time/computational issue than not knowing the cheapest viagra ever theory at this point.

No, humans are not going to travel inside it!

For more information about ornithopters check out: (RC information)
and (Current Research Efforts)
What are the advantages and disadvantage
written by Sonu Anand, July 02, 2008
Very interesting topic!!!! I want to know more about this..
written by Luke, December 28, 2008
There are many possibilities for this kind of aircraft: if you were to build one big enough could you hang some kind of gondola to carry mail? Also, is it possible to attach surveillance equipment to the top or bottom? It would be almost silent, so we could use it in the military for surveillance. One question though: how will it take off? If we use it for the military, we can't very well use balloons or huge towers, can we? On an aircraft carrier will it have some kind of pronged launcher, or will it have wheels? It could have some kind of detachable launcher or shaped launcher for a steam cannon on an aircraft carrier. If you were to take this plane and launch it off of another plane while in flight, you could deploy it that way also. This aircraft needs to be thought about.

For all of the people that think that birds can't actually fly, the bird's wings create a vortex of air under the bird. the bird rides this vortex wherever it goes. To change where this vortex goes, the bird changes the shave and visit web site online levitra prescriptions velocity of it's wings. When this changes the vortex can either propel the bird forward, let it drop, or anything else the bird wants it to do. The bird's wings are also give it lift when it rides the thermals because of the shape. When the bird's wings flap down they dip into the edges of the vortex and push the bird up. When the bird goes onto the upstroke the vortex pushes it up slightly, though enough to give it enough lift to keep in the air. On top of all that, the bird's wings themselves give it lift because of the shape, like an airplanes.
written by NF Anna, May 09, 2009
If there's one sure mark that the future has arrived, it's when robot birds are introduced. That or maybe...I don't know, the sentient robots we created becoming self aware, colonizing and destroying our many planet-ed existence in a nuclear fire storm forcing us to roam the galaxy for years.

Hank, you're amazing. Never stop eco geeking.

written by John Smith, July 18, 2012
This is remarcible and amazing news years after it happened and I wounder how you could replicate the flapping patterns of birds ( beause they are most likely the buy canadian cialis online most effective for minimizing air ressistence and maximizing propulsion) or a more effective method by building the bird after a real bird (hollowed out bones ...) and you could fille those hollowed out spaces with helium.
P.S. I am a nerdfighter!! (and what are you going to do for johns birthday!)
P.P.S. sorry for any missed spelled words it is hard using apples autocorrect.

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