Research

Tiny Fliers

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There’s an apocryphal story claiming that, aerodynamically speaking, honeybees should not be able to fly. Obviously, they can, but it’s true that a small, flapping creature and a large, fixed-wing aircraft will not generate lift exactly the same way. NYU professor Leif Ristroph has a lot of projects exploring flapping flight on smaller scales, as seen in this video. His oscillatory fliers and rotating flapping flight simulator have both been featured previously. Part of the beauty of these projects is their size; in a field that’s historically required giant wind tunnels and room-length wave tanks, Ristroph’s work provides insight into long-standing problems using apparatuses that fit on a countertop. (Video credit: Cool Hunting/L. Ristroph et al.)

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