Flight of bees
Date: Around 1993
Can you explain "how" it is that a bee is capable of flying?
This is just an old engineering myth. There really is not a
problem understanding how bees fly. The muscles that move the wings down are
powerful enough to generated enough force to lift the weight of the bee. On
the downstroke, the wings are "feathered", that is turned vertically so that
moving up they do not generated a force down to undo all the work of lifting
the bee in the first place. Much like a rower turns the oar parallel to the
water on the return stroke, but perpendicular to the water to generate force
on the power stroke. It all adds up just fine. The real unanswered question
is how the bee's nervous system coordinates all this, especially the bit about
compensating for wind, turning, etc.
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Update: June 2012