How Ornithopters Fly

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Ornithopter models EV1 to EV3

1. Ornithopter model EV1


1.1 Flight photographs of the EV1


1.2 Manufacturing of the fuselage


1.3 Drive mechanism of the EV1


1.4 Video of the EV1 (1975)

From the EV-ornithopter models have been made only a few 8 mm films. Since we did not have a wide range of clips to choose from the quality in some cases is poor. Nevertheless you can get an impression of the style of flight of the models.

Cutaway of a 8 mm film from EV1

Testing of all driving functions was only possible with existing wing lift. Therefore, test runs were necessary at first. Particularly the switch between gliding and powered flight had been tested thereby.

1st flight:

The start of the first powered flight of an electrically driven flapping wing model is to be seen.

2nd flight:

The second flight, too only lasted a few wing beats.

Both flights looked somewhat miserable at first sight. However, relief was huge thereafter. There were no vertical movements of the fuselage. Furthermore, the novel cardan gear mechanism worked very well. Its switch between powered and gliding flight worked flawlessly. Further short flights could be executed.


640 x 480 mp4 (1.9 MB)

480 x 360 mp4 (1.0MB)

320 x 240 mp4 (0.5MB)


2. Ornithopter model EV2

The active twisting of the wings resulted from the separate controlling of the main and auxiliary spars in stroke direction. For covering the wing the elastic foil type Platilon U 04 was used for the first time, thickness 0.03 and 0.05 mm (for data sheet please look at the Related Links of the Articulated flapping wings).


2.1 Drive mechanism of the EV2

On the EV2 the flapping wings offers a good potential for a strong twisting. However, there was no capable flight result. Bearing clearances and undesirable elasticity of the wing spars plays a too big role. The adjusting, keeping and reproducing of a definite angle of attack was almost impossible in the area of the wing tips.

According to current experience and knowledge the used principle of Twisting by stroke movement of the auxiliary spar is inapplicably for ornithopters with a large wing span. For the rest good substantial progresses at the construction have been achieved with the EV2 (see report in chapter 4).

3. Ornithopter model EV3


4. Report:
The development of the EV- flapping wing models