Wings as Autogyros
Our paper entitled “On the autorotation of animal wings” has been highlighted on the cover of Journal of the Royal Society Interface. We discovered that isolated animal wings during free fall can achieve stable helical rotation, effectively reducing their rate of descent as do many plant seeds such as maple samaras. We also found that a rotating hummingbird wing supporting half a body weight at its base could generate aerodynamic force and power at rates comparable to those of a flapping wing during natural hovering flight. We also report that dead insects can stably autorotate according to their wing posture. Finally, we propose a scaling law for the aerodynamic performance of autorotating wings. Take a look at the following video!