It’s just a short "Science Shot" from Science Magazine, but it has a big message. A new study on hummingbird wings compares their performance with our best intelligently designed imitator:
The study, published online today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, shows that the power needed to sustain a hummingbird midhover is highly dependent on the bird’s wing aspect ratio. During the down stroke, wings with a larger aspect ratio (3.5 to 4.0 for hummingbirds) use significantly less power than wings with smaller aspect ratios. The study also found that the aerodynamic performance of hummingbird wings are "remarkably similar" to that of an advanced microhelicopter rotor. But the wings were up to 27% more efficient.
What could we add to that? Only a reminder to see Flight: The Genius of Birds to learn more about hummingbirds and other examples of nature’s superior flight engineering.
Image source: Illustra Media.