The Flight of Albatross—How to Transform It into Aerodynamic Engineering?


The flight of albatross (Diomedea exulans) takes advantage of the up-drift which is determined by the product of relative wind velocity and it’s gradient above the sea surface, to power its elegant (dynamic) flight over the ocean. Some of the complicated flight manoeuvres are determined by biological necessities. From its most basic flight manoeuvre a technical aerodynamically scheme can be derived which allows the design of a mechanical technical prototype of a wind generator. It is based on a rotational movement in combination with a skillful time dependent adjustment of the airfoil. Several technical possibilities are discussed and with one of these elaborated in some detail. The technology to be developed could be applied in highly asymmetric air streaming environment around high rise buildings, on mountain ridges and of course, also low above sea level and plains. Mathematical-technical conditions for power gain are discussed. The technology could, in principle, also be deployed to exploit velocity gradients in river water environment. The engineering challenges are significant and the presented work is just a blueprint for tasks to be accomplished.

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Pfeifhofer, G. and Tributsch, H. (2014) The Flight of Albatross—How to Transform It into Aerodynamic Engineering?. Engineering, 6, 427-438. doi: 10.4236/eng.2014.68045.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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