Questions tagged [flight]

Movement through the atmosphere using wings or other structures to generate lift.

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1 answer
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Bats observed hunting insect prey - any evidence of "handedness" (laterality) in circular flight pattern?

Whilst watching a bat hunting on the wing at dusk (most likely was a species common to my urban UK location, e.g. pipistrelle) its flight pattern around the garden comprised circles, several metres in ...
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1 vote
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Can any glider incapable of powered flight strike its prey by descending on it?

TLDR I was not able to find the precise definitions of “true flight“, “sustained flight“ and “gliding“, that are often used on Wikipedia. My layman’s understanding is that true flight is the same as “...
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4 votes
3 answers
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Why are two-winged animals much more common than four-winged?

In flying vertebrates, almost all have only two wings (with the exception of Microraptor and its close relatives). This makes some sense because you need some way to walk also, and a wing isn't very ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Why is there a mass limit on biological powered flight?

So, this is a thing I never fully understood. There are a lot of reasons for a flying creature to be limited in mass (though I'm unsure if I'm familiar with all of them), from energy consumption to ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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How far can parrots fly without needing to land?

This is for a story I'm writing. I can't find any information on how far various parrot species can travel without needing to land-- the closest I could find is this page saying that a macaw flies up ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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What's the smallest flier that migrates?

Painted ladies and monarchs migrate hundreds of miles (~1.61 hundreds of kms). Are there long distance fliers that are significantly smaller? Dual question: Are fliers' migration distances strictly ...
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2 votes
0 answers
39 views

How does anaerobic burst-flight performance scale with mass?

Quails employ anaerobic burst flight to escape predators and the Quetzalcoatlus northropi have most likely used it during launch and climb out, then transition to soaring. Now, I have read these ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Could an 150 pound human have flown on the back of some species of pterodactyl (assuming they still existed)? [closed]

I'm curious if any type of flying animal that ever existed would have been able to carry your average 150 pound man.
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1 vote
1 answer
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How are the wings of birds, pterosaurs and bats related to each other?

Homologous organs are organs which have same arrangements of bones, blood vessels and muscles with different functions, and analogous organs are those which have different arrangements of bones but ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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Water-bird that can take off vertically from the water?

If you look at ducks taking off, they take off at a pretty flat angle, building up speed before they finally get some altitude. This takes a lot of distance, it seems, for them to get high in the air. ...
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2 answers
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Could a horse-sized duck fly?

The more general question would be whether or not one can scale an animal to some other size and preserve its properties. The method of scaling is by volume, scaling all dimensions by the same factor. ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Why are there no WINGED flying arachnids? [duplicate]

There seem to have been no arachnids flying WITH WINGS of any sort at any location or any time in the present or in the fossil record. Why is this? Rationale for question : If the process of ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Does Rüppell's Griffon Vulture Have Greatest Vision Acuity? (Small Carrion Spotted at 10 km+?)

Synopsis: Some sources seem to imply the Rüppell's (griffon) vulture (Gyps rueppelli) can see objects at a distance in excess of 10 km -- roughly three times the ...
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3 votes
3 answers
281 views

Any simulations of four-winged dinosaur flight? (microraptors)

This week's podcast of the BBC's Science in Action includes a section by Rory Galloway (12:20 to 18:30) covering the Dinosaurs ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Energy of flight styles (birds)

What does take more energy (for a bird): to dive or gliding? My teacher thinks that gliding takes more energy, but I'm not sure about this: when a bird glides, it doesn't do anything (pretty much). ...
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1 vote
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What, if anything, would prevent flying fishes evolving to be capable of extended flight? [closed]

This extraordinary video documents a flying fish gliding above the surface of the sea for nearly two minutes. Occasionally it uses its tail for added impetus. It is possible to imagine a fish gliding ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Bio-fuel efficiency as aviation gasoline

Can biofuels replace petroleum for aviation fuel? I've read in the news that Alaska Airlines was flying with 10~20% biofuel and 80~90% petroleum. Is biofuel efficiency comparable to the efficiency of ...
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19 votes
2 answers
5k views

How do birds deal with their eyes drying out at high speeds?

My eyes tear up when cycling at 15 mph, which is nothing compared to bird airspeeds. Do birds continuously produce lots of tears and blink a lot, or do the eyes self-moisturize from the inside ...
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4 votes
1 answer
796 views

Are boat-tailed grackles efficient flyers?

The boat-tailed grackle's deep-V tail would seem to cause a great deal of drag or even downward deflection (like an airplane's elevators). How much does this actually affect the bird's flight?
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1 vote
1 answer
367 views

What is the progressive evolutionary advantage that leads to flying? [closed]

As far as I understand, all life started as non-flying and flying came about by natural selection. What is the evolutionary advantageous "path" to flying? Or is there something else to explain this?
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6 votes
1 answer
6k views

For how long can a raven stay airborne (a week or more)?

I'm wondering for how long a raven can stay continuously airborne, if strained to do so? If it makes a difference, I'm mostly interested in the Common raven, Corvus corax. Are there for instance any ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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Do flies actually take off backwards?

I've been told that flies take off backwards, but I haven't really been able to prove it to myself. The closest I've gotten was noticing that they fly into window glass back-first, with their heads ...
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3 votes
1 answer
468 views

Does a non-extinct gliding species of bird exist?

According to wikipedia was Archaeopteryx rather glider than capable of active flight. As a hunting strategy it crawl up to a tree (or other high positioned place) and glide from it to a prey. Most of ...
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2 votes
2 answers
1k views

What modern insects are not (flying OR descended from flying ancestors)?

What modern insects are not flying or descended from flying ancestors? (I read somewhere that 99% are, so of course I instantly became curious which aren't. xD ) EDIT: Sorry, I should have been ...
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3 answers
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Would it be possible/plausible for a type of spider to fly by weaving web between it's legs to create bat-like wings?

I've been thinking about this lately. Would it be possible for a type of spider to gain the ability to fly freely by weaving its web between it's legs and creating wings much like those of a bat? Is ...
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12 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why insects are so energy-efficient while flying?

Why are insects so energy-efficient while flying? Is it because of their light weight and aerodynamics or due to very efficient biochemical transformations (food->energy)?
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10 votes
1 answer
345 views

Why don't dragonflies wings collapse?

How do dragonflies manage to fly at such high speeds without their wings collapsing? Their wings are thinner than paper, but they do not even flutter. What gives them their strength?
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