Flapping Aircraft - Ornithopter

Flapping Aircraft - Ornithopter

Ornithopter refers to an aircraft that generates lift and forward force through the active movement of wings like a bird, also known as a flapper. Its features are 1. Active movement of the wings. 2. Relying on the reaction force of the wing-flapping the air as the lift and forward force. 3. Maneuver flight by changing the position of the wing and tail.

GoGoBird Bennu ornithopter

Aircraft introduction

The human dream of flying started with a flapping-wing aircraft and was initially realized with a fixed-wing. At present, fixed-wing aircraft can send humans to the blue sky, but the dream of flapping wings is still in progress. 
There are many advantages of a flapping-wing vehicle: 1. The flapping-wing vehicle does not need to take off and land vertically on the runway. 2. The power system and the control system are integrated. 3. The mechanical efficiency is higher than that of fixed-wing aircraft. The limitations are 1. It is difficult to increase the speed and scale. 2. There are special requirements for materials (materials require lightweight and high strength).
Several difficulties of the flapping-wing aircraft: 1. The aerodynamics of the flapping-wing aircraft are not mature enough to guide the design of the aircraft. 2. Material requirements are too high. 3. The structure is difficult.
The prospect of flapping-wing aircraft: It is precisely because there are no rules and regulations without maturity, so there is a situation in which the government, the non-governmental, professional, and amateur are competing with each other, laying a good foundation for their future development. As long as the cracking of several major difficulties is completed, the days of the flapping aircraft will be numbered.

Development History
The idea of ​​flying like a bird can be traced back to the ancient Greek engineer Daedalus and his son Icarus. In the Chinese book of the Han Dynasty, it is recorded that the new country's name is the Wang Mang of the Han Dynasty. Before 19C, he had inspected the earliest flight test of the flapping-wing aircraft.
[One guy said he could fly a thousand miles a day to monitor the activities of the Huns. So Wang Mang immediately went to inspect the matter. The guy took out a set of guy equipment - it looked like a big bird, with two wings, his head and body were all covered with feathers, and these feathers were tied with ropes. In front of the leader, he flew about a few hundred steps and then fell. 

Manned can be roughly divided into two categories: one is manual, that is, the power comes from the arm flapping fan; the other is the engine as the power source.

Around 1894, an engineer named Otto Lilienthal became very famous in Germany, mainly for his several public gliding flights, all of which were successful. At the same time, he also conducted several experiments on the flapping aircraft. In the end, he also built such an aircraft, but unfortunately, he left too early and the project was not completed. Recently, on August 2, 2010, an engineer from Toronto Aviation College named Todd Reichert flew a human-powered flapping plane. This plane has a good name called Snowbird. The 32M wingspan weighs about 92.59 pounds and is made of carbon fiber, balsa wood, and foam; the plane can fly at 15.91 mph.

snowbird ornithopter

The continuous application in practice makes the development of flapping planes gradually move toward simulating birds or simulating insects. A Colorado wildlife organization has used such aircraft to rescue American grouse trapped in gunshot wounds. An artificial eagle claw was attached to the vehicle, which the researchers controlled remotely, and then used this to grab the grouse for research. Because the flappers imitate birds and insects, because they have high military value, they can be used for espionage without worrying about disturbing the enemy. A foreign research institution under the leadership of Paul B. MacCready has developed a large insect-sized aircraft. This achievement is very close to actual combat and may be used in actual combat. Meanwhile, in the mid-80s, Mike was developing a flying machine for another group called the Smithsonian Institution, which was semi-radar controlled, a huge guy, which was later used in the IMAX movie On the Wing. More recently, since 2002, Professor Theo Van Holten is working on developing another aircraft. This flapping aircraft looks like a helicopter. He is called an ornithopter, but unlike a helicopter, his power mechanism does not have torque feedback. The latest domestic product is a product of a mainland company at the 10-year Zhuhai Air Show, ASN-211 Micro flapping drone. This kind of UAV is very light and small, easy to carry by individual soldiers, and the flapping propulsion makes the noise generated by it very small, which is convenient for concealed reconnaissance on the battlefield.
ASN-211 has the ability to fly autonomously and can cruise according to pre-planned navigation points. It is easy to assemble and can be carried by a single soldier. It does not use propellers and does not generate noise when the motor rotates at high speed. It is very difficult to find on the battlefield. The structure is extremely simplified and the weight is minimized. The three core components: the flight control and navigation system, the flapping motor, and the signal transmission system have all been miniaturized.

Model aircraft flapping wing
Model aircraft enthusiasts often make their own different kinds of flapping planes. Some of these planes are small and glued together, and some of them are even remotely controlled by radio. Those small planes made of glue are very simple in the design and production process, and enthusiasts often use this type of plane for various long-end flight competitions. But the leading aircraft in this kind of competition are all exquisite in design and even more challenging in production. Roy White, currently holding an American record, completed the longest flight in history with a flapping plane made in his hand, totaling 21 minutes and 44 seconds.
If you want to make one of these planes, there are some useful books and information for you: these include BYNathan Chronister, a design guide for flapping planes; there is also a website called The Ornithopter Zone web site, which has a lot of information on how to build and fly a flapping plane.

If you want to learn more about the flapper, the suggestion is to go to the English web search, there are many annotations. One of them: 17. T.J. Mueller and J.D. DeLaurier, "An Overview of Micro Air Vehicle Aerodynamics", Fixed and Flapping Wing Aerodynamics for Micro Air Vehicle Applications, Paul Zarchan, Editor-in-Chief, Volume 195, AIAA, 2001.

avatar ornithopter
Pop Culture
1. A 1970s film by Robert, Brewster McCloud, about a young man and his ambition to build a manned flapping plane
2. Alan Parker's 1984 film, in birdy, tells the story of Birdy, a little classmate who brought a homemade flapper to school, and when he flew into the classroom, he shocked his buddies!
3. Frank Herbert's Dune universe features ornithopters (colloquially called 'copters) as one of the primary modes of transportation on the desert planet Arrakis.
4. In the game Jade Empire, flapping planes are used for long-distance transportation and raids, and they also a key role in many side missions. ps: An airship similar to the Red Alert?
5. In the series Michael Moorcock's Hawkmoon, the flapper became a tool of the evil empire Granbretan.

6. In the movie Avatar 2012 and the coming Avatar 2 "The Way of Water", there are some creatures bigger and stronger than the birds we know are ornithopters.

7. Hanvon Go Go Bird series, with continuous innovation over years, integrating cutting-edge bionic flapping wings technology, intelligent sensing technology, artificial intelligence technology, Hanwang officially launched the first smart bionic flapping wings robot product worldwide - Go Go Bird 2019.

8. Festco Bionic Swift 2021, thanks to a close look at wings in nature, the BionicSwifts are agile, nimble and can even fly loops and tight turns. The five artificial swallows can move in a coordinated and autonomous manner in a defined airspace by interacting with a radio-based indoor GPS (ultra wideband, UWB).

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