[2018-Vol.15-Issue 3]Gravitation-enabled Forward Acceleration during Flap-bounding Flight in Birds
Time: 2018-05-12 21:28  Click:327
Journal of Bionic Engineering
 
Volume 15, Issue 2, May  2018, Pages 505-515.
 
Yi Wang1*, Bret W. Tobalske2, Bo Cheng3, Xinyan Deng1
1. School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
2. Field Research Station at Fort Missoula, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
3. Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
 
Abstract  Flap-bounding, a form of intermittent flight, is often exhibited by small birds over their entire range of flight speeds. Its purpose is unclear during low to medium speed (2 m•s−1 – 8 m•s−1) flight: aerodynamic models suggest continuous flapping would require less power output and lower cost of transport. To explore its functional significance at low speeds, we measured body trajectory and kinematics of wings and tail of two zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) during flights between two perches in a laboratory. The flights consisted of three phases: initial, descending and ascending. Zebra finch first accelerated using continuous flapping, then descended, featuring intermittent bounds. The flight was completed by ascending using nearly-continuous flapping. When exiting bounds in descending phase, they achieved higher velocity than that of pre-bound forward by swinging their body forward similar to pendular motion with conserved me-chanical energy. We recorded takeoffs of three black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) in the wild and also found similar kine-matics. Our modeling of power output indicated finch achieved higher velocity (13%) with lower cost of transport (9%) when descending, compared with continuous flapping in previously studied pigeons. Flap-bounding could be useful for unmanned aerial vehicle design by mimicking descending flight to achieve rapid take-off and transition to forward flight.
 
Key words: zebra finch      intermittent flight      aerodynamics      power      unmanned aerial vehicle     

Full text is available at  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s42235-018-0041-9

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