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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

The 100-Year-Old Idea That Could Change Flight

• arclein
Since at least the myth of Icarus, wings seen in nature have inspired humanity's dreams of flight. In the more than a century since the Wright brothers flew the first airplane, Flyer 1, people have begun making these fantasies a reality, flying high enough above the Earth to make it all the way to the moon. However, in many ways, nature still has much to teach aircraft designers. For instance, while airplanes now often break the sound barrier, their stiff wings limit their performance. In contrast, the wings of bats and birds can alter their shapes, helping them fly more efficiently and granting them the versatility to cruise, maneuver, and dive as needed.

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