Human-Powered Ornithopter

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A team at the University of Toronto has flown the world’s first human-powered ornithopter, an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings like a bird. The concept dates back all the way to Da Vinci in the 15th century. Part of why it’s taken centuries to realize the dream is that bird flight is much more complicated than simply flapping up and down. Flapping a wing up and down will produce lift equally upward and downward. In order to create usable lift and thrust, it’s necessary to change the angle of attack during each stroke by twisting the wing while flapping. Watch the U of T craft carefully, and you can see this happening. #

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