Free-Flying Birds

Analysis of Gliding and Flapping Flight on Free-Flying Birds

The astonishing flight performance of birds stimulates the analysis of flapping flight and its technical implementation for generations. While the mechanisms of propulsion considering induced drag are very well explained by now, the numerical and experimental methods fail for the analysis of the enormous flight performance. The reason for this is the outstanding importance of the complex adaptation of the contour and section shape of the wing during a flapping period. The collection of reliable data is a major measurement challenge because it is mandatory that the data acquisition takes place in free flight under realistic flight conditions. In order to establish a basis for the progress in the comprehension of the flapping flight of birds and its technical application, the research project investigates the following question: Is it possible to determine the “airfoil” geometry and the movement pattern of birds in free flight with a sufficient accuracy and spatial resolution in order to base a methodology for numerical flow computations on it? 


Funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) within the priority program SPP 1207.



Partner:  DLR Göttingen (Dr. Konrath), RWTH Aachen (Prof. Wagner)


Contacts: M. SC Martin Heinold