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Re: Reply to Middleton review (long)
Greg is absolutely correct in his comments about the relative difficulty of
flapping flight, as compared to walking. At least in flight, you usually have
available to recover from mistakes. Walking is a far more difficult problem.
I've seen a
crow shake out a cramp in one wing while continuing to flap with the other,
doing a 3/4 roll
in the process prior to successful recovery back to level flight after about a
3 meter loss in
altitude. Try that with one leg while walking.
And I agree with Greg that compared to walking, flapping flight is relatively
(but would note that there is a heckuva lot of work remaining to be done on
particularly agree with Greg's last statement below.
I think many reviewers may not have adequate knowledge of fluid mechanics to
address the subject of flight.
All the best, and may the coming year be a happy one for all of you.
> Middleton criticizes my statement that ?flight, even the flapping version, is
> a comparatively simple operation? by taking it out of context with the same
> rhetorical slight of hand regularly employed by creationists. I was explicitly
> comparing flapping flight to walking, which is well documented to be much more
> difficult than the former in terms of control systems. Children can buy and
> fly little flapping wing models. Meanwhile even the most advanced robotics
> projects -- such as the effort to produce the first realistically walking
> by Peter Dilworth and myself -- are pushing high level technology to make
> machines walk on normal terrain. Middleton does not cite my statement that
> powered flight is ?however, more difficult than walking in that it requires
> lots of
> power per unit time? (p. 133).
> Middleton makes the false claim that I presented an ?analysis of avian flight
> as if it is well supported by scientific evidence, although, even after more
> than 50 years of research, the mechanisms of avian flight.... are still not
> well understood.? In DA I pose the cautionary question and answer ?...how do
> wings really work? The answer to this remarkably complex and still somewhat
> controversial question would take up a whole chapter in of itself,? and that
> ?worse are flapping wings that change shape and orientation during each beat?
> (p. 133). On the same page I refer readers to additional, detailed sources on
> the subject of the science of aerodynamics.
> As with most things there is no one size fits all solution to a complicated
> G Paul