It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…..

An article from the University of florida about an engineer who has developed an RC-model based drone with wings that change their actual shape in flight (as opposed to extending flaps, etc) from a F4U coarsair-like inverse gull to the opposite.

The intended usage is for highly maneuverable drones that can be operated even in a city.

An MPEG of the wing in action is available here.

It would take some work to scale this up to human-carrying aircraft. One of the reason plane wings are relatively stiff is that to build the wing strong enough to carry what we would call a decent load would make the wing unreasonably heavy if it had to have all the parts and supports required to make it bend like a bird’s wing. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how far this can be pushed, and more maneuverable, cheap drones are also a good thing, with any number of applications, many of them civilian.