Birds and Airplanes

We all know that the Flight of Birds was one of the major inspirations to Airplanes.

In long flight, birds fly in a group in a arrow shape. It almost seems natural to us, it seems like it should be that way. There is actually a reason behind it; so the ultimate question. Why do birds fly like the way they do?

Have you ever looked up at the sky and had this thought?

This is one of the things I actually understood when I was studying aerospace engineering.

They fly in an arrow shape during long flight or they usually fly in a bunch of group to get very very high up. So why is this? To put it simply, when birds fly there is an upwash vortex field caused from their wings. (too technical?) It’s basically extra/free air which keeps pushing them up, therefore they can conserve energy and remain efficient hence faster and longer journeys. (or just getting high :P) They also keep switching over so they don’t run out of energy. They can fly for miles and miles using this technique (this only applies to migratory birds, not lone rangers such as eagles, jus sayin’)

So why don’t airplanes fly in this arrow/v shape, it seems so efficient; and it would be the ideal thing to do in today’s environmentally conscious world. There are more downsides to this relative to the upsides; it would be highly impractical as they are too large and need to be modified in order to fly in this formation, if there was an accident then the consequences would be colossal!!  There is no runway in the world that could handle this many take-offs at the same time; most airplanes usually go to different destinations.

Regardless of this, usually fighter planes fly in this formation you may have seen this at air-shows or on tv, if not then google is your friend. They are also more aglie and the pilots are much much more experienced :) hope you enjoyed the small lesson.

If you didn’t understand any of this, then you can at least enjoy the bird photography I did over the weekend :) Happy Monday Peoples!


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