Most sensible air travellers dread turbulence. A little atmospheric hiccup can shake airplanes, rattle nerves and spill beverages. A Cornell-led collaboration has found that birds don’t mind at all.
By combining wind speed data with the measured accelerations of a golden eagle outfitted with GPS tracking instruments, the researchers suggest that, rather than hindering flight, turbulence is a source of energy that birds may use to their advantage.
This counterintuitive discovery could revise what we know about avian flight, and help the aerospace industry develop faster, more efficient ways to fly in turbulent environments. MORE
Header image: Cornell University.