A theoretical basis for ornithopter research

There is a lot of seductive technology in the Dune novels. While you might like the stillsuit, I have found that my imagination was most captured by the ornithopters (perhaps the idea of recycling my urine, feces, and sweat into drinking water doesn’t capture my imagination).

It’s pretty obvious to me that the engineers in the Dune universe would not discuss the design of the ubiquitous ornithopters using metrics designed for fixed wing aircraft like we, apparently, do now. Phillip Burgers and David Alexander have taken a stab at creating a new measure of lift1 that is readily applicable to fixed wing aircraft, lift generating rotating cylinders, and things with flapping wings (i.e., ornithopters and bats): Continue reading “A theoretical basis for ornithopter research”