General Question

edmartin101's avatar

Are wings all that birds need to fly?

Asked by edmartin101 (776points) May 3rd, 2008

There got be more than that I think. If they just need wings, then why can’t people wear wings and fly also? If this was possible, this would be a good way to escape emergencies from high rise buildings. Sorry, I am just ignorant in this area.

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17 Answers

Seesul's avatar

One word. Aerodynamics. Same reason a truck with wings can’t fly.

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Aerodynamics is something that benefits the flying, but its mainly the wings and how they have pockets of air in them to make them lighter.

kevbo's avatar

Birds have hollow/porous bones, so they are much lighter for their size.

delirium's avatar

I was going to answer this, and saw lemur typing. Now i’m just waiting, excited to read.

brownlemur's avatar

There are birds with wings that cannot fly – e.g. penguins and ratites. Different musculature plays into it as well as aerodynamics and hollow bones. The muscles attached to the sternum play a large role as well. I think I remember reading way back when that bats, birds and pterodactyls all fly differently, so there are various methods of flight. Bats are actually hand fliers (Chiroptera = hand flier) and utilize a different kind of motion than birds do when they fly. I wish I knew more about the subject and I wasn’t too exhausted to write more. Google avian flight if you have a chance and then tell us what you learn.

ironhiway's avatar

Flying squirrels don’t really fly but they come about as close as we ever could.
Check out this video.
Mountain Wingsuit

edmartin101's avatar

@ironhiway Now that’s a great video! I was waiting to see something like this. Still is quite dangerous, definitely exciting

wildflower's avatar

Just don’t tell the bumble bee

Randy's avatar

Look at chickens. They have wings and can’t exactly fly. Penguins might also fit into that category.

edmartin101's avatar

@wildflower you got it, so aerodynamics is not always the predominant factor why certain animals can’t fly: “the laws of aerodynamics prove that the bumblebee should be incapable of flight, as it does not have the capacity (in terms of wing size or beat per second) to achieve flight with the degree of wing loading necessary” This proves again that the experts are wrong: “One shouldn’t be surprised that the results of the calculations don’t square with reality” according to wikipedia. I guess I take back my comment on experts: “More sophisticated aerodynamic analysis shows that the bumblebee can fly because its wings encounter dynamic stall in every oscillation cycle”.

gooch's avatar

@edmartin I think I have read before that helicopters are not suppose to fly “according to the experts”.

edmartin101's avatar

@gooch man that’s funny, never heard that one. One more to keep in my repertoire

Dine's avatar

If You have more then 18kg,no wings can make You fly with own muscles.

Seesul's avatar

@Randy. I’ve seen chickens fly. Not well, but over fences, and from branch to branch in trees.

Randy's avatar

@ Seesul-Comparatively to actual flying birds though, chickens do not fly.

Seesul's avatar

My gramma’s sure did, especially when she went out there looking for Sunday night dinner!

edmartin101's avatar

My friend used to drive his Porsche so fast, a cop gave him a ticket for flying too low in a residential neighborhood

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