For this project I have used an electronic dragonfly in order to study the effect of thermals and coastal winds on flight.

Mission: Try to keep an ornithopter in the air as long as possible.

Notions: Dragonfly,coast winds,thermals.

Materials: RC ornithopter or any other similar toy, stop watch.

Read about the specifics of the bird’s flight and the attempts made by humans to imitate them.Compare the birds and the insects flight.They both use the "flapping method" but some birds are more efficient in using thermals(ascending warm air currents).

Observe the difference between the flight of a small and a large bird. Notice how the large birds (eagles, falcons) are use thermals to in their flight. Explain when do thermals occur and how.

Find a location where you can catch a thermal.Compare the length of this flight with another one without the use of a thermal.

Note: Designed by a NASA engineer, this toy imitates the flapping-wing flight found in nature.

An ornithopter (the combined Greek words for "bird" and "wing")doesn't need to have feathers but the flapping motion of its wings makes him look birdlike.The first known attempt to fly like a bird was recorded in the Greek mythology. Dedalus, build a pair of wings glued together with wax and his son, Icarus, tried to fly with them. Later on, Leonardo Da Vinci designed a man powered flying machine but he never build it. The first successful ornithopter flight occurred in 1870 but the first manned, engine-powered flight occurred only in 1942.

Have you heard about the "Bumblebee Paradox"? The flight of the insects has generated many discussions among scientists.At one point they concluded that the bumblebee should not be able to fly.How is that posible? Follow this link to find more. 

Return from Dragonfly to Aviation for Kids

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