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Flapping Wing Aircraft? Flapping Wing Aircraft!

by John M. White |

I am sure that all of us that are old enough remember the black and white video of a multi-wing flapping wing aircraft attempting manned flight and collapsing in on itself.  We all laughed hysterically as the poor hapless pilot climbed out of the wreckage and looked at the pile of debris left of his marvelous flying machine. Earlier, of course, Lenardo DaVinci studied birds in flight and imagined manned flight before Orville and Wilbur were even born. Leonardo said "There shall be wings! If the accomplishment be not for me, 'tis for some other. The spirit cannot die; and man, who shall know all and shall have wings . . ." knowing that someday man would indeed fly. Then the challenge was heavier than air powered manned flight, first accomplished at Kitty Hawk and rapidly advanced to today's modern aircraft and sub-orbital space vehicles. Today we look skyward and worry about an unmanned aerial vehicle spying on us, but there is more afoot that that. Enter nano aerial vehicles, affectionately known as NAVs. Yes, these little vehicles can fit in the palm of your hand and become that storied "fly on the wall" we have all wanted at one time or another. On July 24th, 2009 the world's first successful flight of a self-powered, rudderless, flapping aircraft was achieved by engineers from AeroVironment.  This little device is painted to look just like a hummingbird, and apparently flies like one too! nano-air-vehicle-580x482 How it works the engineers won't say, because the Defense Department is protecting the technology. So the next time you hear a buzzing around your head be careful what you swat! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7

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