Insect Flight

An Integrated Study of Flight Stabilization and Maneuvering with Flapping Wings in Unsteady Flows 

The objective of the project is to understand how animals maneuver and stabilize their flight in unsteady flows that are representative of urban environments. The primary focus of the project is to understand how animals modify wing kinematics and exploit wing, as well as body deformation when flying in a perturbed environment. In addition to the aerodynamic forces, we are studying how insects manipulate their inertial properties (through articulation/deformation of their bodies) during complex flight regimes. The study employs un-tethered insect flight experiments coupled with computational modeling of the aerodynamics and aero-structural interaction. Simple flight dynamics models will be developed based on the experimental/computational analysis, and used to explore new concepts in bioinspired, flapping wing MAVs. 

Collaborator: Tyson Hedrick, UNC Chapel Hill