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Vortex wake and flight kinematics of a swift in cruising flight in a wind tunnel

Henningsson, Per LU ; Spedding, Geoff and Hedenström, Anders LU (2008) In Journal of Experimental Biology 211(5). p.717-730
Abstract
In this paper we describe the flight characteristics of a swift (Apus apus) in cruising flight at three different flight speeds (8.0, 8.4 and 9.2 m s(-1)) in a low turbulence wind tunnel. The wingbeat kinematics were recorded by high-speed filming and the wake of the bird was visualized by digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV). Certain flight characteristics of the swift differ from those of previously studied species. As the flight speed increases, the angular velocity of the wingbeat remains constant, and so as the wingbeat amplitude increases, the frequency decreases accordingly, as though the flight muscles were contracting at a fixed rate. The wings are also comparatively inflexible and are flexed or retracted rather little during... (More)
In this paper we describe the flight characteristics of a swift (Apus apus) in cruising flight at three different flight speeds (8.0, 8.4 and 9.2 m s(-1)) in a low turbulence wind tunnel. The wingbeat kinematics were recorded by high-speed filming and the wake of the bird was visualized by digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV). Certain flight characteristics of the swift differ from those of previously studied species. As the flight speed increases, the angular velocity of the wingbeat remains constant, and so as the wingbeat amplitude increases, the frequency decreases accordingly, as though the flight muscles were contracting at a fixed rate. The wings are also comparatively inflexible and are flexed or retracted rather little during the upstroke. The upstroke is always aerodynamically active and this is reflected in the wake, where shedding of spanwise vorticity occurs throughout the wingbeat. Although the wake superficially resembles those of other birds in cruising flight, with a pair of trailing wingtip vortices connected by spanwise vortices, the continuous shedding of first positive vorticity during the downstroke and then negative vorticity during the upstroke suggests a wing whose circulation is gradually increasing and then decreasing during the wingbeat cycle. The wake (and implied wing aerodynamics) are not well described by discrete vortex loop models, but a new wake-based model, where incremental spanwise and streamwise variations of the wake impulse are integrated over the wingbeat, shows good agreement of the vertical momentum flux with the required weight support. The total drag was also estimated from the wake alone, and the calculated lift:drag ratio of approximately 13 for flapping flight is the highest measured yet for birds. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of Experimental Biology
volume
211
issue
5
pages
717 - 730
publisher
The Company of Biologists Ltd
external identifiers
  • pmid:18281334
  • wos:000253196600018
  • scopus:42149156668
ISSN
1477-9145
DOI
10.1242/jeb.012146
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
bf3d0528-35d2-43f2-89cb-24d6b66a6164 (old id 958644)
date added to LUP
2008-01-31 16:01:14
date last changed
2017-07-30 03:41:48
@article{bf3d0528-35d2-43f2-89cb-24d6b66a6164,
  abstract     = {In this paper we describe the flight characteristics of a swift (Apus apus) in cruising flight at three different flight speeds (8.0, 8.4 and 9.2 m s(-1)) in a low turbulence wind tunnel. The wingbeat kinematics were recorded by high-speed filming and the wake of the bird was visualized by digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV). Certain flight characteristics of the swift differ from those of previously studied species. As the flight speed increases, the angular velocity of the wingbeat remains constant, and so as the wingbeat amplitude increases, the frequency decreases accordingly, as though the flight muscles were contracting at a fixed rate. The wings are also comparatively inflexible and are flexed or retracted rather little during the upstroke. The upstroke is always aerodynamically active and this is reflected in the wake, where shedding of spanwise vorticity occurs throughout the wingbeat. Although the wake superficially resembles those of other birds in cruising flight, with a pair of trailing wingtip vortices connected by spanwise vortices, the continuous shedding of first positive vorticity during the downstroke and then negative vorticity during the upstroke suggests a wing whose circulation is gradually increasing and then decreasing during the wingbeat cycle. The wake (and implied wing aerodynamics) are not well described by discrete vortex loop models, but a new wake-based model, where incremental spanwise and streamwise variations of the wake impulse are integrated over the wingbeat, shows good agreement of the vertical momentum flux with the required weight support. The total drag was also estimated from the wake alone, and the calculated lift:drag ratio of approximately 13 for flapping flight is the highest measured yet for birds.},
  author       = {Henningsson, Per and Spedding, Geoff and Hedenström, Anders},
  issn         = {1477-9145},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {717--730},
  publisher    = {The Company of Biologists Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Experimental Biology},
  title        = {Vortex wake and flight kinematics of a swift in cruising flight in a wind tunnel},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.012146},
  volume       = {211},
  year         = {2008},
}