How a Bird Wing Works – Smarter Everyday

Destin from Smarter Everyday just got back from a trip to the jungles of South America to capture some high speed footage of macaws and parrots. He was helping researchers figure out some odd feeding habits caused by a mineral shortage on the western side of the continent. It turns out that the moisture required to sustain the rain forests comes from the Atlantic ocean to the east. By the time it reaches the west coast of South America, the sodium content of the rain has dropped to almost nothing. The macaws and parrots then don’t get enough sodium from the fruit that they eat and have to resort to eating clay.

Of course since Destin is an engineer by trade and nature, he went through the footage to see if he could learn anything about bird flight. When birds glide, their wings have the same foil shape as airplane wings:

Continue reading

Final Flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour

The Space Shuttle Endeavour took it’s last flight last weekend on the back of a Boeing 747 to Los Angeles to take its place in the California Science Center. Here are a couple of videos of the last flight that I found on Gizmodo¬†commemorating the occasion.

The first video is a time lapse of the shuttle being mounted to the transport plane:


The second video is high speed footage of the landing at LAX under the escort of a couple of FA-18 Hornets:

Shuttle Endeavour: A piece of space history flies by in slow motion
from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

Sources: YouTube user DailyOnTech via Gizmodo and Vincent Laforet on Vimeo also via Gizmodo

e-volo Electric Multicopters

The prototype for the e-volo electric multicopter achieved its first manned flight at the end of October last year. It represented huge breakthroughs in battery energy density, electric motor power output and controls software programming. Now that e-volo has proof of concept, they are teaming up with Oshkosh to move forward on single and double seat commercial versions of the electric multicopter called the Volocopter. The multicopter format may seem complicated, but it offers many advantages in terms of ease of controls and stability when compared to a traditional helicopter. e-volo is hoping to achieve 6500 ft flight altitude, 60 mph top speed (100 kph), 990 pound (450 kg) payload and one hour of flight time with the new concepts.

Source: YouTube user forschungsbuero

Helicopter Physics – Smarter Everyday

If you enjoy figuring out why the things in the world around you work the way they do, you should subscribe to Smarter Everyday on YouTube. The host is named Destin and he has set out investing money into these YouTube shows so that he can educate the masses and put the proceeds from ads and donations towards his kids’ college funds. He’s a Mechanical Engineer by trade and education and he has a knack for making engineering interesting. For the last couple of months, Destin has been posting a series about the physics that ¬†makes helicopters work. It’s really fascinating because they’re capable of a lot of mind blowing stunts and the way they work is different from how you probably intuitively think they do.

Part 1: Introduction
Destin introduces us to the series and his buddy Carl Groover who flies remote controlled helicopters for the Curtis Youngblood team. Watching Carl at work is a pretty eye opening experience in terms of what a helicopter can and cannot do.

  Continue reading