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Experimental Study of the Mechanics of Motion of Flapping Insect Flight Under Weight Loading

[+] Author Affiliations
Timothy Reissman, Robert B. MacCurdy, Ephrahim Garcia

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Paper No. SMASIS2008-661, pp. 699-709; 11 pages
  • ASME 2008 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems
  • Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems, Volume 2
  • Ellicott City, Maryland, USA, October 28–30, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Aerospace Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4332-1 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3839-6
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


The results of this study are an evaluation of the mechanics of motion of a weight loaded Manduca sexta Hawkmoth during flight using accelerations recorded with an onboard sensory system. Findings indicate that these ‘normal’ flapping insects maintain relatively fixed body frequencies in both free and weight loaded flight, which correspond with the driving frequency, or wing beat frequency. Within the analysis, a presence of a harmonic body frequency at twice the wing beat frequency was also discovered. The conclusions from this study indicate an average excess muscle power of over 40mW available in free, unloaded flight. Stability robustness of these flapping insects in flight using the results of a large payload disturbance, 856mg or nearly half to one-third the mass of insect, is demonstrated, and their usefulness as platform for cyborg MAV (CMAV) development is presented.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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