How Ornithopters Fly

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Ornithopter models EV5 and EV6

1. Ornithopter model EV5


1.1 Wing design


2. Ornithopter model EV6


2.1 Flight photographs of the EV6


2.2 Video of the EV6 (1983)

Cutaway of a 8 mm film from EV6

The video shows two short flight sequences.

Scene 1

  • a launch to gliding flight on a slope,
  • the change to powered flight with a cardan gear mechanism,
  • the slight bobbing up and down of the fuselage with a stroke cycle of about 0.8 s
  • and after some wing beats the change to gliding flight. Then the flight speed obviously wasn't big enough for a normal gliding flight thereafter. Therefore, it changes to a sinking flight.

Scene 2

  • a start to a gliding flight on a slope again and
  • two transitions between gliding and powered flight
  • The second switch does not happen speedily, most likely due to the indecisiveness of the radio-control pilot.

In both flights the varying acceleration in both operating cycles of the wings is clearly to be seen, at the rhythmically alternating distance between the model and marginal border of the image.


640 x 480 mp4 (1.6MB)

480 x 360 mp4 (0.9MB)

320 x 240 mp4 (0.5MB)