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J Biomech. 1983;16(8):649-54.

Mechanics of gliding in birds with special reference to the influence of the ground effect.


A model of the mechanics of gliding without loss of altitude (horizontal gliding) is developed. The model can be employed to assess the influence of the principal drag components (induced, profile and parasite drag), choice of initial and final glide velocities and height above the ground on glide distance. For birds gliding near to the ground the ground effect acts to decrease the induced drag and increase the lift to drag ratio of the wings. Minimum drag speed is reduced for birds gliding near to the ground. The model is applied to the gliding flight of the black skimmer (Rhyncops nigra). Glide distances for given initial and final velocities are significantly increased in the influence of the ground effect over out of ground effect values.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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