How Flies the Albatross – the Flight Mechanics of Dynamic Soaring
Published November 2, 2004 by SAE International in United States
Annotation of this paper is available
The flight mechanics of dynamic soaring are described to explain how the albatross can sustain soaring flight over a waveless sea in any net direction, including upwind, by extracting energy from the wind velocity gradient with cyclic zoom maneuvers. A dynamic soaring force is postulated to be represented by a wind-aligned vector providing energy gain during both upwind ascent and downwind descent in the wind profile. Maneuver angles are specified consistent with both a dynamic soaring rule and the desired net progress over the water. The equations of motion for coordinated maneuvering in the wind profile are derived and numerically integrated for a range of trajectories as perceived by the albatross, and also as perceived by a stationary observer.