Owing to its distinctly bird-like features, Archaeopteryx is one of the most intriguing dinosaurs known to science. Since its discovery some 150 years ago, paleontologists have wondered if the Late Jurassic dinosaur could actually fly. New research suggests the answer is yes—but its flying style was unlike anything…
To my eye, the clouds that airplane wings make on takeoff and landing look like some cool ass force field—like, a stealth shroud that envelopes the airplane as its flying around. Reality is less fun though, because the clouds that are rolling over the wings of the airplane are caused by the lift forces that let our…
Even the most maneuverable aircraft we’ve designed is no match for the agility of a bird. Mother Nature has all but perfected flight, so why are we wasting our time re-inventing the wheel? As researchers at Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne realized, we should just be copying our fine feathered…
The weather has been really fun and generous with lightning strikes these days. We’ve seen it destroy trees and gotten an up close view of it striking but this one might be the coolest angle yet: from outside a flying airplane window. The lightning hits the tip of the wing and then streaks in a straight line like a…
Owls are often considered nature’s stealth fighters, and it turns out their ability to silently is a result of a unique wing structure not found in any other bird. Now that researchers know the owl’s secret, they can make lots of stuff silent—everything from bedroom ceiling fans to massive wind turbines.
First revealed to the public earlier this year, NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory have finally begun testing what they hope will be a revolutionary new airplane wing design that replaces moving parts with shape-changing assemblies allowing wings to bend and twist to maneuver a craft through the air.
What you're looking at is a 3D visualization of a fly's thorax in action. The 3D animation, which was put together using data pulled from a particle accelerator, offers a glimpse into the inner workings of one of nature's most complex mechanisms.
Throughout the 1950s and 60s, aviation engineers struggled to overcome an important issue: That planes became increasingly difficult to control, the closer they got to the sound barrier. It wasn't until NASA strapped a pair of custom-made wings onto this fighter that supersonic flight became not just feasible, but…
This is a good song. No one is saying that you should listen to it while in any type of altered mental state whatsoever. It's just a good song. The Wings recorded it in 1972 and it got pretty popular, though the BBC was turned off by some of its lyrics. Paul apparently had this to say about their concerns:
We all know about echolocation, but way more is happening when a bat takes flight, and some bats don't echolocate at all. So how do they have so much precision in their flying and what's different about bats and birds?
By all logic bats shouldn't be able to fly. They're basically rats with wings, yet somehow they manage to soar through the air, and researchers at Brown University have finally figured out how. But since they're not the easiest animals to work with, Kenneth Breuer and Sharon Swartz created this biologically accurate…
When a team of biologists, physicists, and engineers at Brown University put their heads together to look at batwings, they discovered how wings on everything from military vehicles to batman could become 35 percent more efficient.
Gizmodo reader Cameron Halter said he was eating at Taco Mac in Atlanta, Georgia, when they noticed this note in their receipt. "I think it speaks for itself," he says in his email. Truth. [Thanks Cameron!]
I'm really amazed by this video, because I always dreamed about doing this. Watch Dutch mechanical engineer Jarno Smeets take off and fly just by flapping wings of his own invention—like a real bird! It's uncanny.
It might not be immediately obvious just how birds could evolve something as complex as the wings needed for flight. But that's just it: flight was basically incidental to the real adaptation. The secret is a little something called flap-running.
Liu Chun Sheng isn't an engineer or a pilot, but he is the creator of a semi-operational seaplane that looks like a banged-up mini Osprey helicopter.
All winged insects look more or less the same: a main thorax that's split into three segments, two legs on each segment, and four wings. But there's one exception, and it's spectacularly weird. Meet the massive "helmets" of treehopper insects.
Or so said Dr. Lucien Bull of the Marie Institute at Paris, as cited in this 1929 issue of Modern Mechanics. And you know what? I'm with him. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't mind living in Hawkworld. [Spotted on Modern Mechanix]
A closer look at seemingly drab, transparent insect wings has revealed realms of previously unappreciated color, visible to the naked eye yet overlooked for centuries.