Aerodynamic Aspects of Animal Flight

  • James Lighthill


A lecture or a course of lectures on ‘Aircraft’ would put approximately equal emphasis on aerodynamic, structural and power-plant aspects; whereas lectures on ‘Aerodynamics of Aircraft’ would concentrate principally on aerodynamic matters while referring to just the basic elements of what limitations are imposed by structural and power-plant considerations. Similarly this lecture on the ‘Aerodynamic Aspects of Animal Flight’ will concentrate on the aerodynamic forces, and the resulting dynamic interactions, between the movements of a flying animal relative to the air and the associated air movements; and include only brief references to fundamental limitations imposed by the strength and stiffness of the skeleton of the animal and other structural considerations, or by the power-plant capabilities of the animal’s musculature and metabolism. Equally it will give only a highly condensed account (see section on Evolution) of the biologically fundamental questions of how systems for animal flight evolved in response to environmental demands and opportunities.


Lift Coefficient Tail Feather Wing Loading Wing Beat Wing Motion 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Lighthill
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeEngland

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