Feathers in Flight Inspire Anti-Turbulence Technology

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

“Inspired by nature’s own anti-turbulence devices – feathers,” researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a system that emulates the movements of feathers with which birds control their flight path in the most turbulent conditions. Dr. Case van Dam gave a talk at the 2014 Electric Aircraft Symposium on controlling aircraft in turbulence and providing smoother rides with Gurney flaps, jet flaps and micro tabs.  The RMIT team chose to mimic the motions of feathers on a bird’s wing to gain many of the same advantages.  The Unmanned Systems Research Team learned enough to file a provisional patent on the system, detecting disturbances in the air ahead of the airplane.  Both approaches might help the electric commuter aircraft …