ScienceDaily (Sep. 5, 2012) — Albatrosses leverage the energy of the wind to fly with essentially no mechanical cost to themselves, very rarely flapping their wings. New work offers insight into how exactly they accomplish this feat.
They determined that the energy gain during the albatross's "dynamic soaring" comes from a repeated oscillation consisting of a combined curve-altitude flight maneuver, with optimal adjustment for the wind.
The results may provide inspiration for robotic aircraft that utilize the flight technique of albatrosses for engineless propulsion, the authors write.
The research was published Sept. 5 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.
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