parapente
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Plane Landing Like A Bird

Thu May 03, 2012 12:36 pm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...ing-robot-slow-land-like-bird.html

Came across this today.Never seen anything like it before.Quite amazing.No real application in the commercial world but none the less...
 
Btriple7
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:05 pm

It's really too bad no one else has responded to this thread. It's a very interesting topic.

I think the major obstacle keeping this design from being scaled up to full-sized aircraft is the amount of mechanical parts that would be needed to build a wing with that many control surfaces. Maybe in half a century or so with advancements in composite materials, we'll be able to build such a wing with only a few moving parts.

It's definitely a beautiful flying machine. I'd love to see an airplane like that.

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Starlionblue
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:33 am

Quoting Btriple7 (Reply 1):
I think the major obstacle keeping this design from being scaled up to full-sized aircraft is the amount of mechanical parts that would be needed to build a wing with that many control surfaces. Maybe in half a century or so with advancements in composite materials, we'll be able to build such a wing with only a few moving parts.

I think weight is a much bigger problem. With current technology, you can carry way more payload with a simple wing and a runway.
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nomadd22
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:10 am

The problem is very simple physics. There's a reason you don't see 60 foot butterflies around. The smaller the object the greater the surface area to mass ratio.
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SlamClick
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:16 am

Really very little practical value to such an endeavor.

In a very practical application; many years ago some people I knew wanted to buy a Helio Courier. Having flown both I recommended to them that they buy a Cessna 206 and build another thousand feet of runway.
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DocLightning
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:30 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 4):
Really very little practical value to such an endeavor.

I agree that transporting passengers and cargo are not likely uses of this technology, but I disagree that there are no practical uses. In fact, I can think of several.

I can see such technology being very useful in surveillance, scientific research, and even weapons delivery. A swarm of robots like these could be equipped with small explosive devices, cameras, sensors, or even just highly reflective material to confuse enemy radar.

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 3):
There's a reason you don't see 60 foot butterflies around.

Mostly because exoskeletons are a poor choice for very large non-aquatic animals. There is a lack of internal support for organs. Also, insects use diffusion with minimal pumping as a method of respiration, rather than the lungs that vertebrates use. As body volume increases more quickly than surface area, this places an upward limit on the size of air-breathing, land/air invertebrates. The prehistoric dragonfly Meganeura meganeura had a wingspan of about 2 feet (60cm). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meganeura

While it is true that there has never been a 60-foot winged animal, living or extinct, found on our world, Quetzalcoatlus northropi is thought to have had a wingspan of over 33 ft. (10m) and weighed 440-550 lb (200-25 kg). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetzalcoatlus

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Spacepope
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:46 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
While it is true that there has never been a 60-foot winged animal, living or extinct, found on our world, Quetzalcoatlus northropi is thought to have had a wingspan of over 33 ft. (10m) and weighed 440-550 lb (200-25 kg). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetzal...atlus

I've worked with these kind of animals. Pteranodon had 24 foot wingspans too. They flew using a membrane stretched behind a hyperextended digit IV, and also had a kreuger flap style extension from a specialized sesamoid bone atached to their carpals (called the pteroid bone) that controlled a flap of skin foreward of the skeletal support (consider it the spar) for the inboard 1/3 or so of each wing.

The giant pterosaurs can't really be used as analogies here, though seing a mechanical aircraft attempt their lunging launch maneuver would be entertaining.
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DocLightning
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:08 am

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 6):
The giant pterosaurs can't really be used as analogies here, though seing a mechanical aircraft attempt their lunging launch maneuver would be entertaining.

They flew with flapping wings...
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GST
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:30 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 2):


Quoting Btriple7,reply=1:

I think the major obstacle keeping this design from being scaled up to full-sized aircraft is the amount of mechanical parts that would be needed to build a wing with that many control surfaces. Maybe in half a century or so with advancements in composite materials, we'll be able to build such a wing with only a few moving parts.

I think weight is a much bigger problem. With current technology, you can carry way more payload with a simple wing and a runway.

Indeed, there is a reason larger birds (think swans etc) tend to use a "runway" style of takeoff and landing. The flapping, hovering landing onto a single branch of a tree as employed by smaller birds and this tech demonstrator simply don't scale well to higher gross weight creatures/machines.

Not to say there is no application for this, there are tons of applications for small UAVs able to land on the metaphorical dime, surveillance and technical inspection in dangerous areas to name but two.
 
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:47 am

In "Nausicaä and the Valley of the Wind" by Hayao Miyazaki there is such a plane, called "Mehwe":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nausica...ley_of_the_Wind_%28film%29#Gliders



And they're trying to build a rea-life example, but I doubt it will be able to land like a seagull as in the movie: http://www.petworks.co.jp/~hachiya/works/OpenSky.html

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bond007
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:27 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
I agree that transporting passengers and cargo are not likely uses of this technology

... and the reasons aren't only technical. Passengers are probably not far from their limits of comfort when slowing on a conventional runway 5000-10000 feet long. Note sure what Gs are experienced by birds landing like this, but it would appear fairly high. Stalling at the last possible moment before landing is probably something most could not stomach. There is a reason only naval aviators use tailhooks and cables.


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Spacepope
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:08 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 7):
They flew with flapping wings...

True, sometimes, however they flew with wings that are completely different than birds (and bats are again completely different again).

Here's the launching maneuver I was referring to. As you can see, it'd be a hoot for passengers. And Quetz did the same thing.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALziqtuLxBQ

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DocLightning
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:52 pm

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 11):
Here's the launching maneuver I was referring to. As you can see, it'd be a hoot for passengers. And Quetz did the same thing.

Yeah, I don't think I'd ever want to fly on an aircraft that flapped its wings. Even the birds/ptery-whatzawhozits need oversized reflex arcs built in to steady their heads while they fly/flew so that they can see what's going on around them because their bodies move too much during flight. This would not be pleasant for a human being sitting aboard, even in F-class with a bunch of Singapore Girls trying to serve dinner without the plates flying around the cabin.  
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DocLightning
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:56 pm

Quoting GST (Reply 8):
Indeed, there is a reason larger birds (think swans etc) tend to use a "runway" style of takeoff and landing.

The reason that swans and geese need to get a running start/stop is because their feet aren't designed to grip branches. Eagles, vultures, and friends have no problem landing on/taking off from a sufficiently large branch.
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SlamClick
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:08 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
I can see such technology being very useful in

Recalling that I used the word "practical:"

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
surveillance

Much easier to "trap" small UAVs than to complicate the vehicle itself to give it the land-on-a-dime technology. This has been done at least as far back as WW II when Army liaison aircraft could theoretically have been launched/recovered from Navy vessels. The UAV simply flies into some sort of G-attenuating hook device. Vastly simply and less expensive.
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Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
scientific research

Sorry, but, by definition not a "practical" apllication.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
even weapons delivery

If a weapons delivery system slows down near the target it becomes vulnerable. So, slow down when it returns to base? Why? Again, we already have many very satisfactory one-way delivery systems.

* * *

When I say "practical" any application that requires a government entity to support it is pretty much excluded. By practical I mean something that an agency with very tight budget constraints (which excludes ALL government activity) would still find superior to existing hardware.

Sorry but I'm going to stick with my original assessment and bet that we will never see this technology used in for-profit, private sector, peaceful applications.
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boacvc10
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:38 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
I can see such technology being very useful in surveillance, scientific research, and even weapons delivery. A swarm of robots like these could be equipped with small explosive devices, cameras, sensors, or even just highly reflective material to confuse enemy radar.

I suspect this discovery would usher in, a few years from now, personal "flyers" who could don a bio-mechanical suit with the wings being actuated through a electric propulsion unit. A cross between Jet Man's 1-person jet and the U.S. Army's robotic exoskeleton stuff Read here and here

And at the end of the day, the flyer simply lands anywhere at low velocity while folding up his/her wings ! At least that is what I think is possible ....
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DocLightning
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:03 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 14):
Much easier to "trap" small UAVs than to complicate the vehicle itself to give it the land-on-a-dime technology. This has been done at least as far back as WW II when Army liaison aircraft could theoretically have been launched/recovered from Navy vessels. The UAV simply flies into some sort of G-attenuating hook device. Vastly simply and less expensive.

I can see uses for a sparrow-sized robot that can fly into a tree, perch on a branch, and sit there immobile.
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flyingturtle
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:51 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 13):
The reason that swans and geese need to get a running start/stop is because their feet aren't designed to grip branches. Eagles, vultures, and friends have no problem landing on/taking off from a sufficiently large branch.

No, that's not the reason. There are even ducks that breed on trees (like the Common Merganser and the Mandarin Duck). The reason is that birds always zoom down from the branch to take up speed. This is a luxury the grassland- and waterliving geese and swans don't have.

And birds fly upwards before landing on a branch or twig to bleed off airspeed.

Another difference is that eagles and vultures need attack and/or carry prey with their claws. The swan's feet are just made for walking and swimming, and so they aren't that strong to push oneself to a safe airspeed in just one step.

In one of the 1980ies issues of "PM", a German version of "Popular Mechanics", they proposed a ski jump for airliners...


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HaveBlue
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:08 am

This thread is an example of why I love this forum so much. Good points all.

I agree it will probably never be used for human transportation (come back in 30 years and flame me if I'm wrong lol) but for UAV style stuff like spying perhaps it will. I agree with Slam that the benefits are outweighed by the complexity/cost for upscale man rated craft.. we've spent 100+ years perfecting the performance and efficiency of wingborn and rotor born flight.. even if this could work there would be a looong gestation period.
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SlamClick
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:06 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 16):
I can see uses for a sparrow-sized robot that can fly into a tree, perch on a branch, and sit there immobile.

Because it is well-known that Al Qaeda holds their meetings under a tree, by a brook?

Again, "practical" and Government use are antithetical. Unless, of course, you were talking about private party espionage.
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bikerthai
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:54 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 7):

They flew with flapping wings...

Yes, but I have seen osprey using the flare technique when ever they return to their nests. And on a windy day, they come heading into the wind and hardly have to flap.

I can see the practicality of this in small to medium size UAV. So far, the Scan Eagle can return to base using a capture system with a small foot print and is portable (size of a humvee).

But suppose you are on a ship and can't use the Scan Eagle proprietary capture system, you can:

1) String a net above your helipad.
2) Have you're UAV come in and flare right above the net and drop down on to the net.

You have eliminated the need for landing gear - save weight for more payloads!

You can probably get the stall speed down close without major changes in current wing architecture.
The rest of the break through would be to get it down to 20-30 knots ship. And once you have flared, there is probably no chance of turning on the afterburners to regain altitude . . . you are now committed.

Of course, you can also string the net vertically and have the machine fly into the net . . .

Still any reduction in speed will help you with the capture side . . .

bt

[Edited 2012-06-04 11:57:43]

[Edited 2012-06-04 12:00:17]
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DocLightning
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:45 pm

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 14):
If a weapons delivery system slows down near the target it becomes vulnerable. So, slow down when it returns to base? Why? Again, we already have many very satisfactory one-way delivery systems.

You're thinking missiles. I'm thinking mines. Imagine a robot that can hang out in a tree for days, weeks, months. It can have a camera that records enemy troop movements or it can have an antipersonnel explosive on a motion trigger.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 19):
Because it is well-known that Al Qaeda holds their meetings under a tree, by a brook?

Or in a cave, which is another place a small robot could fly into. If it were small enough and well-enough disguised, it could be mistaken for a bird. And I am sure that some meetings have been held under trees; we certainly have pictures of Taliban and AQ operatives hanging out in the woods.

You honestly don't think there would be any use to a robotic bird? Or flying insect?
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flyingturtle
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:51 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 21):
Or flying insect?

We already have remotely controlled cockroaches.  Their payload is somewhat limited, though...
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DocLightning
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:04 pm

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 22):
We already have remotely controlled cockroaches. Their payload is somewhat limited, though...

Mice, too. Making the command system portable enough to be implanted is a challenge, especially with cockroaches.
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SlamClick
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:11 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 21):
You're thinking missiles

And much, much more. Your thinking here is, understandably, very 20th century.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 21):
I'm thinking mines.

Mines are only military weapons if their planting and detonation is very precisely controlled. Otherwise they are nothing but cold, heartless, random murder machines. They are a crime against humanity and probably more likely to kill civilians than military. We should not be doing that at all - that's what we have terrorists for, And again, I only said "practical" as contrasted with "effective" which might do great harm but little or no good.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 21):
Imagine a robot that can hang out in a tree for days, weeks, months. It can have a camera that records enemy troop movements or it can have an antipersonnel explosive on a motion trigger.

. . . and then he proved my point.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 21):
Or in a cave . . .

Ah, God bless the popular media. I'll bet that Al Qaeda has held more meetings in Monaco or Geneva than they have in a cave in Afghanistan.

From a strictly military standpoint the R&D resources would probably be better spent on cracking pre-paid cellphones.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 21):
You honestly don't think there would be any use to a robotic bird? Or flying insect?

If you build it, someone will employ it. That doesn't mean it was worth the money. Hell, we used hovercraft in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Seen any hovercraft in your neighborhood lately? My argument against is on the basis of cost/benefit. A government that can simply print money or impose taxes that won't be "treated like a tax" can, and probably will proceed with something like this. If the thing had to pay for itself it would never happen.
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SlamClick
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:20 pm

Doc, I don't mean to pick on you here. My lack of enthusiasm for these devices is entirely rooted in the practicality of them over existing technologies. UAVs with almost no moving parts are cheap and easy. They can be built in the size needed. They can be built with a permanent, aerodynamically-shaped hook as part of the upper and lower surfaces. They can be launched by whatever means and recovered by flying them over or under a wire with some G-attenuation feature that could be a simple as swinging around a pole like a tetherball. Incredibly simple.

Arguing against my own position, perhaps it is up to goverments with unimited spending capacity and no accountability to do R&D that might, some day, a generation later, have some actual benefit to the citizens.
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bond007
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RE: Plane Landing Like A Bird

Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:02 pm

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 24):
Hell, we used hovercraft in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Seen any hovercraft in your neighborhood lately?

Depends on where you live! The US Navy has around 100 of them, and they operate from all of their LHA, LHD, Lxx ships AFAIK. A successful transport vehicle by all means.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 25):
recovered by flying them over or under a wire with some G-attenuation feature that could be a simple as swinging around a pole like a tetherball. Incredibly simple.

Don't disagree with a lot of your comments, but the difference here is that most of the devices you mention that can be used to 'capture' the UAV etc. are something that needs to be set-up at the landing site ahead of time ... this obviously doesn't. It can land anywhere, somewhat gently, and continue whatever task it was designed for, and depending on its propulsion system, continue to another location.

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