A variety of sources detailing the Wright brothers’ research methods and conclusions prior to the successful first powered flight note their study of birds.
From that study, they observed and identified the ways soaring birds changed their wings’ shape to control the flight path. That data led to conceiving and implementing wing warping, mimicking the birds they observed.
Never mind that wing warping isn’t as efficient or mechanically simple as ailerons, flaps, and other devices humans now use to change a fixed wing’s shape. The important part is the Wrights observed how birds established and maintained control, and transferred that knowledge to a mechanical object. [Read more…]