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FLIGHT

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Originally appearing in Volume V10, Page 507 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FLIGHT and FLYING. Of the many scientific problems of modern times, there are few possessing a wider or more enduring interest than that of aerial navigation (see also AERONAUTICS). To fly has always been an object of ambition with man; nor will this occasion surprise when we remember the marvellous freedom enjoyed by volant as compared with non-volant animals. The subject of aviation is admittedly one of extreme difficulty. To tread upon the air (and this is what is really meant) is, at first sight, in the highest degree utopian; and yet there are thousands of living creatures which actually accomplish this feat. These creatures, however varied in form and structure, all fly according to one and the same principle; and this is a significant fact, as it tends to show that the air must be attacked in a particular way to ensure flight. It behoves us then at the outset to scrutinize very carefully the general configuration of flying animals, and in particular the size, shape and movements of their flying organs. lying animals differ entirely from sailing ships and from balloons, with which they are not unfrequently though erroneously compared; and a flying machine constructed upon proper principles can have nothing in common with either of those creations. The ship floats upon water and the balloon upon air; but the ship differs from the balloon, and the ship and the balloon differ from the flying creature and flying machine. The water and air, moreover, have characteristics of their own. The analogies which connect the water with the air, the ship with the balloon, and the ship and the balloon with the flying creature and flying machine are false analogies. A sailing ship is sup-ported by the water and requires merely to be propelled; a flying creature and a flying machine constructed on the living type require to be both supported and propelled. This arises from the fact that water is much denser than air, and because water supports on its surface substances which fall through air. While water and air are both fluid media, they are to be distinguished from each other in the following particulars. Water is comparatively very heavy, inelastic and incompressible; air, on the other hand, is comparatively very light, elastic and compressible. If water be struck with violence, the recoil obtained is great when compared with the recoil obtained from air similarly treated. In water we get a maximum recoil with a minimum of displacement; in air, on the contrary, we obtain a minimum recoil with a maximum of displacement. Water and air when unconfined yield readily to pressure. They thus form movable fulcra to bodies acting upon them. In order to meet these peculiarities the travelling organs of aquatic and flying animals (whether they be feet, fins, flippers or wings) are made not of rigid but of elastic materials. The travelling organs, moreover, increase in size in proportion to the tenuity of the fluid to be acted upon. The difference in size of the travelling organs of animals becomes very marked when the land animals are contrasted with the aquatic, and the aquatic with the aerial, as in figs. 1, 2 and 3. The peculiarities of water and air as supporting media arc wellillustrated by a reference to swimming, diving and flying birds. A bird when swimming extends its feet simultaneously or alternately in a backward direction, and so obtains a forward recoil. The water supports the bird, and the feet simply propel. In this case the bird is lighter than the water, and the long axis of the body is horizontal (a of fig. 4). When the bird dives, or flies under water, the long axis of the body is inclined obliquely down-wards and forwards, and the bird forces itself into and beneath the water by the action of its feet, or wings, or both. In divingorsubaquatic flight the feet strike upwards and backwards, the wings downwards and backwards (b of fig. 4). In aerial flying everything travelling extremities adapted for air. is reversed. The long axis of the bird is inclined obliquely upwards and forwards, and the wings strike, not downwards and backwards, but downwards and forwards (c of fig. 4). These changes in the direction of the long axis of the bird in swimming, diving and flying, and in the direction of the stroke of the wings in sub-aquatic and aerial flight, arc due to the fact that the bird is heavier than the air and lighter than the water. The physical properties of water and air explain in a great measure how the sailing ship differs from the balloon, and how the latter differs from the flying creature and flying machine constructed on the natural type. The sailing ship is, as it were, immersed in two oceans, viz. an ocean of water and an ocean of air—the former being greatly heavier and denser than the latter. The ocean of water, buoys or floats the ship, and the ocean of air, or part of it in motion, swells the sails which propel the ship. The moving air, which strikes .the sails directly, strikes the hull of the vessel indirectly and forces it through the water, which, as explained, is a comparatively dense fluid. When the err' a.- ship is in motion it can be steered either by the sails alone, or by the rudder alone, or by both combined. A balloon differs from a sailing ship in being immersed in only one ocean, viz. the ocean of air. It resembles the ship in floating upon the air, as the ship floats upon the water; in other words, the balloon is lighter than the air, as the ship is lighter than the water. But here all analogy ceases. The ship, in virtue of its being immersed in two fluids having different densities, can be steered and made to tack about in a horizontal plane in any given direction. This in the case of the balloon, immersed in one fluid, is impossible. The balloon in a calm can only rise and fall in a vertical line. Its horizontal movements, which ought to be the more important, are accidental movements due to air currents, and cannot be controlled; the balloon, in short, cannot be guided. One might as well attempt to steer a boat carried along by currents of water in the absence of oars, sails and wind, as to steer a balloon carried along by currents of air. The balloon has no hold upon the air, and this consequently cannot be employed as a fulcrum for regulating its course. The balloon, because of its vast size and from its being lighter than the air, is completely at the mercy of the wind. It forms an integral part, so to speak, of the wind for the time being, and the direction of the wind in every instance determines the horizontal motion of the balloon. The force required to propel a balloon against even a moderate breeze would result in its destruction. The balloon cannot be transferred with any degree of certainty from one point of the earth's surface to another, and hence the chief danger in its employment. It may, quite as likely as not, carry its occupants out to sea. The balloon is a mere lifting machine and is in no sense to be regarded as a flying machine. It resembles she flying creature only in this, that it is immersed in the ocean of air in which it sustains itself. The mode of suspension is wholly different. The balloon floats because it is lighter than the air; the flying creature floats because it extracts from the air, by the vigorous downward action of its wings, a certain amount of upward recoil. The balloon is passive; the flying creature is active. The balloon is controlled by the wind; the flying creature controls the wind. The balloon in the absence of wind can only rise and fall in a vertical line; the flying creature can fly in a horizontal plane in any given direction. The balloon is inefficient because of its levity; the flying creature is efficient because of its weight. Weight, however paradoxical it may appear, is necessary to flight. Everything which flies is vastly heavier than the air. The inertia of the mass of the flying creature enables it to control and direct its movements in the air. Many are of opinion that flight is a mere matter of levity and power. This is quite a mistake. No machine, however light and powerful, will ever fly whose travelling surfaces are not properly fashioned and properly applied to the air. It was supposed at one time that the air sacs of birds contributed in some mysterious way to flight, but this is now known to be erroneous. The bats and some of the best-flying birds have no air sacs. Similar re- marks are to be made of the heated air imprisoned within the bones of certain birds.' Feathers even are not necessary to flight. Insects and bats have no feathers, and yet fly well. The only facts in natural history which appear even indirectly to countenance the flotation theory are the presence of a swimming bladder in some fishes, and the existence of membranous expansions or pseudo- wings in certain animals, such as the flying fish, flying dragon and flying squirrel. As, however, the animals referred to do not actually fly, but merely dart into the air and there sustain themselves for brief intervals, they afford no real support to the theory. The so-called floating animals are depicted at figs. 5, 6 and y. It has been asserted, and with some degree of plausibility, that a fish lighter than the water might swim, and that a bird lighter than the air might fly: it ought, however, to be borne in mind that, in point of fact, a fish lighter than the water could not hold its own if the water were in the least perturbed, and that a bird lighter than the air would be swept into space by even a moderate a ' According to Dr Crisp, the swallow, martin, snipe and many birds of passage have no air in their bones.—Prot. Zool. Soc. Lond. part xxv., 1857, p. 13. breeze without hope of return. Weight and power are always associated in living animals, and the fact that living animals are made heavier than the medium they are to navigate may be regarded as a conclusive argument in favour of weight being necessary alike to the swimming of the fish and the flying of the bird. It may be stated once for all that flying creatures are for the most part as heavy, bulk for bulk, as other animals, and that flight in every instance is the product, not of superior levity, but of weight and power directed upon properly constructed flying organs. This fact is important as bearing on the construction of flying machines. It shows that a flying machine need not necessarily be a light, airy structure exposing an immoderate amount of surface. On the contrary, it favours the belief that it should be a compact and moderately heavy and powerful structure, which trusts for elevation and propulsion/entirely to its flying appliances—whether actively moving wings, or screws, or aeroplanes wedged forward by screws. It should attack and subdue the air, and never give the air an opportunity of attacking or subduing it. It should smite the air intelligently and as a master, and its vigorous well-directed thrusts should in every instance elicit an upward and forward recoil. The flying machine must be multum in panto. It must launch itself in the ocean of air, and must extract from that air, by means of its travelling surfaces—however fashioned and however applied—the recoil or resistance necessary to elevate and carry it forward. Extensive inert surfaces indeed are contra-indicated in a flying machine, as they approximate it to the balloon, which, as has been shown, cannot maintain its position in the air if there are air currents. A flying machine which could not face air currents would necessarily be a failure. To obviate this difficulty we are forced to fall back upon weight, or rather the structures and appliances which weight represents. These appliances as indicated should not be unnecessarily expanded, but when expanded they should, wherever practicable, be converted into actively moving flying. surfaces, in preference to fixed or inert dead surfaces. The question of surface is a very important one in aviation: it naturally resolves itself into one of active and passive surface. As there are active and passive surfaces in the flying animal, so there are,'otshould be, active and passive surfaces in the flying machine Art should follow nature in this matter. The active surfacesim flying creatures are always greatly in excess of the passive ones,from the fact that the former virtually increase in proportion to *spaces through which they are made to travel. Nature no't only distinguishes between active and passivesurfaces in flying animals, but she strikes a just balance between them, and utilizes both. She regulates the surfaces to the strength and weight of the fiyirg creature and the air currents to which the surfaces are to be exposed and upon which they are to operate. In her calculations she never forgets that her flying subjects are to control and not to be controlled by the air. As a rule she reduces the passive surfaces of the body to a minimum; she likewise reduces as far as possible the actively moving or flying surfaces. While; however, diminishing the surfaces of the flying animal as a whole, she increases as occasion demands the active or wing surfaces by wing movements, and the passive or dead surfaces by the forward motion of the body in progressive flight. She knows that if the wings are driven with sufficient rapiditystheypractically convert the spaces through which they move into solid bases of support, she also knows that the body in rapid flight derives support from all the air over which it passes. The manner in which the wing surfaces are increased by the wing movements will be readily understood from the accompanying illustrations of the blow-fly with its wings at rest and in motion (figs. 8 and 9). In fig. 8 the surfaces exposed by the body of the insect and the wings are, as compared with those of fig. 9, trifling. The wing would have much less purchase on fig. 8 than on fig. 9, provided the surfaces exposed by the latter were passive or dead surfaces. But they are not dead surfaces: they represent the spaces occupied by the rapidly vibrating wings, which are actively moving flying organs. As, moreover, the wings travel at a much higher speed than any wind that blows, they are superiorto and control the wind; they enable the insect to dart through the wind in whatever direction it pleases. The reader has only to imagine figs, 8 and 9 cut out in paper to realize that extensive, inert, horizontal aeroplanes'. in a flying machine would be a mistake. It is found to be so practically, as will be shown by and by. Fig. 9 so cut out would be heavier than fig. 8, and if both were exposed to a current of air, fig. 9 would be more blown about than fig. 8. It is true that in beetles and certain other insects there are the elytra or wing cases—thin, light, horny structures inclined slightly upwards—which in .the act of flight are spread out and act as sustainers or gliders. The elytra, however, are comparatively long narrow structures which occupy a position in front of the wings, of which they may be regarded as forming the anterior parts. The elytra are to the delicate wings of some insects what the thick anterior margins are to stronger wings. The elytra, moreover, are not wholly passive structures. They can be moved, and the angles made by their under surfaces with the horizon adjusted. Finally, they are not essential to flight, as flight in the great majority of instances is performed without them. The elytra serve as protectors to the wings when the wings are folded upon the back of the insect, and as they are extended on either side of the body more or less horizontally when the insect is flying they contribute to flight indirectly, in virtue of their being carried forward by the body in motion. Natural Flight.—The manner in which the wings of the insect traverse the air, so as practically to increase the basis of support, raises the whole subject of natural flight. It is necessary, there-fore, at this stage to direct the attention of the reader somewhat fully to the subject of flight, as witnessed in the insect, bird and bat, a knowledge of natural flight preceding, and being in some sense indispensable to, a knowledge of artificial flight. The bodies of flying creatures are, as a rule, very strong, comparatively light and of an elongated form,—the bodies of birds being specially adapted for cleaving the air. Flying creatures, however, are less remarkable for their strength, shape and comparative levity than for the size and extraordinarily rapid and complicated movements of their wings. Prof. J. Bell Pettigrew first satisfactorily analysed those movements, and reproduced them. by the aid of artificial wings. This physiologist in 186722 showed that all natural wings, whether of the insect, bird or bat, are screws structurally, and that they act as screws when they are made to vibrate, from the fact that they twist in opposite directions during the down and up strokes. He also explained that all wings act upon a common principle, and that they present oblique, kite-like surfaces to the air, through which they pass much in the same way that an oar passes through water in sculling. He further pointed out that the wings of flying creatures (contrary to received opinions, and as has been already indicated) strike downwards and forwards during the down strokes, and upwards and forwards during the up strokes. Lastly he demonstrated that the wings of flying creatures, when the I By the term aeroplane is meant a thin, light, expanded structure inclined at a slight upward angle to the horizon intended to float or rest upon the air, and calculated to afford a certain amount of support to any body attached to it. 2 " On the Various Modes of Flight in relation to Aeronautics," by J. Bell Pettigrew, Proc. Roy. Inst., 1867; " On the Mechanical Appliances by which Flight is attained in the Animal Kingdom," by the same author, Trans. Linn. Soc., 1867, bodies of said creatures are fixed, describe figure-of-8 tracks in space—the figure-of-8 tracks, when the bodies are. released and advancing as in rapid. flight, being opened out and converted into waved tracks. It may be well to explain here that a claim has been set up by his admirers for the celebrated artist, architect and engineer, Leonardo da Vinci, to be, regarded as the discoverer of the principles and pract-ike of flight (see Theodore Andrea Cook, Spirals in Nature and Art, 1903). The claim is, however, unwarranted; Leonardo's chief work on flight, bearing the title Codice sal Volo degli Uccelli e Varie Altre Materie, written in 1505, consists of a short manuscript of twenty-seven small quarto pages, with simple sketch illustrations interspersed in the text. In addition he makes occasional references to flight in his 'other manuscripts, which are also illustrated. In none of Leonardo's manuscripts, however, and in none of his figures, is the slightest hint given of his having any knowledge of the spiral movements made by the wing in flight or of the spiral structure of the wing itself. It is claimed that Leonardo knew the direction of the stroke of the wing, as revealed by recent researches and proved by modern instantaneous photography. As a matter of fact, Leonardo gives a wholly inaccurate account of the direction of the stroke of the wing. He states that the wing during the down stroke strikes downwards and backwards, whereas in reality it strikes downwards and forwards. In speaking of artificial flight Leonardo says: " The wings have to row downwards and backwards to support the machine on high, so that it moves forward." In speaking of natural flight he remarks: " If in its descent the bird rows backwards with its wings the bird will move rapidly; this happens because the wings strike the air which successively runs behind the bird to fill the void whence it comes." There is nothing in Leonardo's writings to show that he knew either the anatomy or physiology of the wing in the modern sense. Pettigrew's discovery of the figure-of-8 and waved movements made by the wing in stationary and progressive flight was con-firmed some two years after it was made by Prof. E. J. Marey of Paris' by the aid of the "sphygmograph."2 The movements in question are now regarded as fundamental, from the fact that they are alike essential to natural and artificial flight. The following is Pettigrew's description of wings and wing movements published in 1867: " The wings of insects and birds are, as a rule, more or less triangular in shape, the base of the triangle being directed towards the body, its sides anteriorly and posteriorly. They are also conical on section from within outwards and from before backwards, this shape converting the pinionssinto delicately graduated instruments balanced with the utmost nicety to satisfy the requirements of the muscular system on the one hand and the resistance and resiliency of the air on the other. While all wings are graduated as explained, innumerable varieties occur as to their general contour, some being falcated or scythe-like, others oblong, others rounded or circular, some lanceolate and some linear. The wings of insects may consist either of one or two pairs--the anterior or upper pair, when two are present, being in some instances greatly modified and presenting a corneous condition. They are then known as elytra, from the Gr. gXvrpov, a sheath. Both pairs are composed of a duplicature of the integument, or investing membrane, and are strengthened in various directions by a system of hollow, horny tubes, known to entomologists as the neurae or nervures. These nervures taper towards the extremity of the wing, and are strongest towards its root and anterior margin, where they supply the place of the arm in birds and bats. The neurae are arranged at the axis of the wing after the manner of a fan or spiral stair—the anterior one occupying a higher position than that farther back, and so of the others. As this arrangement extends also to the margins, the wings are more or less twisted upon themselves and present a certain degree of convexity on their superior or upper surface, and a corresponding concavity on their inferior or under surface,—their free edges supplying those fine curves which act with such efficacy upon the air in obtaining the maximum of resistance and the minimum of displacement. As illustrative examples of the form of wings alluded to, those of the beetle, bee and fly may be cited —the pinions in those insects acting as helices, or twisted levers, and so_ 1 Revue des tours scientifiques de la France et del' Stranger, 1869. 2 The sphygmograph, as its name indicates, is a recording instrument. It consists of a smoked cylinder revolving by means of clock-work at a known speed, and a style or pen which inscribes its surface by scratching or brushing away the lampblack. The movements to be registered are transferred to the style or pen by one or more levers, and the pen in turn transfers them to the cylinder, where they appear as legible tracings. In registering the movements of the wings the tips and margins of the pinions were, by an ingenious modification, employed as the styles or pens. By this arrangement the different parts of the wings were made actually to record their own movements. As will be seen from this account, the figure-of-8 or wave theory of stationary and progressive flight has been made the subject of a rigorous experimentum crucis.elevating weights much greater than the area of the wings would seem to warrant (figs. Io and I I).... " To confer on the wings the multiplicity of movements which they require, they are supplied with double hinge or compound joints, which enable them to move not only in an upward, downward, forward and backward direction, but also at various intermediate degrees of obliquity. An'insectwith wings thus hinged may, as far as steadiness of body is concerned, be not inaptly compared to a compass set upon gimbals, where the universality of motion in one direction ensures comparative fixedness in another." . . . " All wings obtain their leverage by presenting oblique surfaces to the air, the degree of obliquity gradually increasing in a direction from be-hind, forwards and downwards, during extension when the sudden or effective stroke is being given, FIG. Io.—Right Wing of the Beetle (Goliathus and gradually de- micans) when at rest; seen from above. creasing in an oppo- site direction during flexion, or when the wing is being more slowly recovered pre- FIG. 11.--Right Wing of the Beetle (Goliparatory to making athus micans) when in motion; seen from a second stroke. The behind. This figure shows how the wing twists effective stroke in and untwists when in action, and how it forms insects, and this a true screw. holds true also of birds, is therefore delivered downwards and forwards, and not, as the majority of writers believe, vertically, or even slightly backwards . . The wing in the insect is more flattened than in the bird; and advantage is taken on some occasions of this circumstance, particularly in heavy-bodied, small-winged, quick-flying insects, to reverse the pinion more or less completely during the down and up strokes." . . . This is effected in the following manner. The posterior margin of the wing is made to rotate, during the down stroke, in a direction from above downwards and from behind forwards—the anterior margin travelling in an opposite direction and reciprocating. The wing may thus be said to attack the air by a screwing movement from above. During the up or return stroke, on the other hand, the posterior margin rotates in a direction from below upwards and from before backwards, so that by a similar but reverse screwing motion the pinion attacks the air from beneath." . . . " A figure-of-8, compressed laterally and placed obliquely with its long axis running from left to right of the spectator, represents the movements in question. The down and up strokes, as will be seen from this account, cross each other, the wing smiting the air during its descent from above, as in the bird and bat, and during its ascent from below as in the flying fish and boy's kite " (fig. 12). " The figure,of-8 action of the wing explains how an insect or bird may fix itself in the air, the backward and forward reciprocating action of the pinion affording support, but no propulsion. In these instances the backward and forward strokes are made to counterbalance each other. Although the figure-of-8 represents with considerable fidelity the twisting of the wing upon its axis during extension and flexion, when the insect is playing its wings before an object, or still better when it is artificially fixed, it is otherwise when the down stroke is added and the insect is fairly on the wing and progressing rapidly. In this case the wing, in virtue of its being carried forward by the body in motion, describes an undulating or spiral course, as shown in ng. 13." " The down and up strokes are compound movements—the termination of the down stroke embracing the beginning of the up stroke, and the termination of the up stroke including the beginning of the down stroke. This is necessary in order that the down and up strokes may glide into each other in such a manner as to prevent jerking and unnecessary retardation." 2 .. . ' This continuity of the down into the up stroke and the converse is greatly facilitated by the elastic ligaments at the root and in the The wing of the bird, like that of the insect, is concavo-convex, acid more or less twisted upon itself when extended, so that the anterior or thick margin of the pinion presents a different degree of curvature to that of the posterior or thin margin. This twisting is in a great measure owing to the manner in which the bones of the wing are twisted upon themselves, and the spiral nature of their articular surfaces—the long axes of the joints always intersecting each other at right angles, and the bones of the elbow and wrist making a quarter of a turn or so during extension and the same amount during flexion. As a result of this disposition of the articular surfaces, the wing may be shot out or extended, and retracted or flexed in nearly the same plane, the bones composing the wing rotating on their axes during either movement (fig. 14). The secondary action, or the revolving of Extension (elbow). Flexion (wrist). Flexion (elbow). Extension (wrist). the component bones on their own axes, is of the greatest importance in the movements of the wing, as it communicates to the hand and forearm, and consequently to the primary and secondary feathers which they bear, the precise angles necessary for flight. It in fact ensures that the wing, and the curtain or fringe of the wing which the primary and secondary feathers form, shall be screwed into and down upon the wind in extension, and unscrewed or withdrawn from the wind during flexion. The wing of the bird may therefore be compared to a huge gimlet or auger, the axis of the gimlet repre- senting the bones of the wing, the flanges or spiral thread of the gimlet the primary and secondary feathers " (figs. 15 and i6). " From this description it will be evident that by the mere rotation of the bones of the forearm and hand the maximum and minimum of resistance is dipping and feathering of an oar." . " The wing, both when at rest and when in motion, may not inaptly be compared to the blade of an ordinary screw propeller as employed in navigation. Thus the general outline of the wing corresponds closely with the outline of the propeller (figs. II, 16 and 18), and the track described by the wing in space is twisted upon itself propeller into what is equivalent to a solid for the time being, in the same way that the spokes of a wheel in violent motion, as is well understood, more or less completely substance of the wing. These assist in elevating, and, when necessary, in flexing and elevating it. They counteract in some measure what may be regarded as the dead weight of the wing, and are especially useful in giving it continuous play. " The importance of the twisted configuration or screw-like form cannot be over-estimated. That this shape is intimately associated with flight is apparent from the fact that the rowing feathers of the wing of the bird are every one of them distinctly spiral in their nature; in fact, one entire rowing feather is equivalent—morphologically and physiologically—to one entire insect wing. In theoccupy the space contained within the rim or circumference of the wheel " (figs. 9, 20 and 21). " The wing of the bat bears a considerable resemblance to that of the insect, inasmuch as it consists of a delicate, semi-transparent, continuous membrane, supported in divers directions, particularly towards its anterior margin, by a system of osseous stays or stretchers which confer upon it the degree of rigidity requisite for flight. It is, as a rule, deeply concave on its FIG. 17.—Right Wing of the Bat (Phylunder or ventral surface, locina gracilis). Dorsal aspect as seen from and in this respect re- above. semblesthe wing of the heavy-bodied birds. The movement of the bat's wing in extension is a spiral one, the spiral running alternately from below upwards and forwards and from above downwards and backwards. The action of the wing of the bat, and the movements of its componen', bones, are essentially the same as in the bird " (figs. 17 and 18'). . "The wing strikes the air precisely as a boy's kite would if it were jerked by its string, FIG. 18.—Right Wing of the Bat (Phylthe only difference being locinagracilis). Dorsal and ventral aspects, that the kite is pulled as seen from behind. These show the forwards upon the wind screw-like configuration of the wing, and by the string and the also how the wing twists and untwists hand, whereas in the during its action. insect, bird and bat the wing is pushed forwards on the wind by the weight of the body and the power residing in the pinion itself " (fig. 19).2 in flight. The figure-of-8 and kite-like action of the wing referred to lead us to explain how it happens that the wing, which in many instances is a comparatively small and delicate organ, can yet attack the air with such vigour as to extract from it the recoil necessary to elevate and propel the flying creature. The accompanying figures from one of Pettigrew's later memoirs3 will serve to explain the rationale (figs. 20, 21, 22 and 23). As will be seen from these figures, the wing during its vibration sweeps through a comparatively very large space. This space, as already explained, is practically a solid basis of support for the wing and for the flying animal. The wing attacks the air in such a manner as virtually to have no slip—this for two reasons. The wing reverses instantly and acts as a kite during nearly the entire down and up strokes. The angles, moreover, made by the wing with the horizon during the down and up strokes are at no two intervals the same, but (and this is a wing of the martin, where the bones of the pinion are short, and in some respects rudimentary, the primary and secondary feathers are greatly developed, and banked up in such a manner that the wing as a whole presents the same curves as those displayed by the insect's wing, or by the wing of the eagle, where the bones, muscles and feathers have attained a maximum development. The con-formation of the wing is such that it presents a waved appearance in every direction—the waves running longitudinally, transversely and obliquely. The greater portion of the wing may consequently be removed without essentially altering either its form or its functions. This is proved by making sections in various directions, and by finding that in some instances as much as two-thirds of the wing may be lopped off without materially impairing the power of flight."—Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. vol. xxvi. pp. 325, 326. 2 " On the Various Modes of Flight in relation to Aeronautics," Proc. Roy. Inst., 1867; " On the Mechanical Appliances by which Flight is attained in the Animal Kingdom," Trans. Linn. Soc., 1867. 26. " On the Physiology of Wings; being an analysis of the movements by which flight is produced in the Insect, Bat and Bird," Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin. vol. 26. remarkable circumstance) they are always adapted to the speed at which the wing is travelling for the time being. The increase and decrease in the angles made by the wing as it hastens to and fro are due partly to the resistance offered by the air, and partly to the mechanism and mode of application of the wing to the air. The wing, during its vibrations, rotates upon two separate centres, the tip rotating round the root of the wing as an axis (short axis of wing), the posterior margin rotating around
End of Article: FLIGHT
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