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Advanced Projects / Grants Program

Usually what draws people to flapping-wing flight is that they love to experiment. Ornithopters give us the perfect opportunity, because there is an unlimited range of projects that haven't even been tried yet. Even students or individual hobbyists can do some very important experiments and make a genuine contribution to the field. The Ornithopter Society would like to encourage investigations in key areas of flapping-wing research.

Instead of just "building an ornithopter" for your b-tech project (that's been done before) you could tackle one of these unique projects selected for making a real contribution to the field! We can provide support, including technical assistance, materials, and funding, for the specific projects listed below. Please contact the Ornithopter Society if you would like to participate.

Reynolds Ornithopter: In the 1990s, Francis Reynolds developed an incredible mechanism for driving ornithopter wings. The advance ratio can be adjusted for different flying speeds, allowing a full range of flight from hover to high speed dives. Wing twist can be used for aileron and flap functions. All of this would be done with an efficient airfoiled wing. Reynolds never finished his ornithopter, but you have the opportunity to bring this amazing project to completion. One qualified applicant will be able to work with Reynolds' original machine and either make it fly or build your own version.
Mobile App Development: Develop a smartphone app that uses the phone camera to measure the flapping rate of any ornithopter or bird. Or, create a mobile version of the FlapDesign software on this web site. These apps would be very useful for developing ornithopters and for studying bird behavior.
Scale Model of 1942 Ornithopter: Take measurements from old photos to work out the dimensions of the world's first manned ornithopter, flown in 1942. The first step is to produce scale drawings that can be used to build a scale flying model of Schmid's ornithopter.
Ornithopter Society Newsletter: An internship / volunteer position is available as editor of our print newsletter. This could be a great learning experience, something to build your resume, and a fine way to help build the ornithopter community.