A New Investigation of Natural Flight Characteristics and Theory 2004-01-3089
The typical aeronautical engineering approach to low Reynolds number flight studies has been to start with known high Reynolds number aerodynamic paradigms and attempt to match them by scaling to observations of birds and insects. On the other hand, the typical biological approach to natural flight aerodynamics has been to try to fit the observations of birds and insects into the typical known aerodynamic paradigms. Neither of these approaches has met with much success, and although we know more about the potential processes of natural flight, we have not been able to describe them using the framework of conventional aerodynamics. The investigation of low Reynolds number aerodynamic flows at the University of Dayton has led to a proposed new method of characterizing and describing the aerodynamics of natural flight. Lift in natural flight is theorized to be based in the spanwise flow along the curvature of a flapping wing.