Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Flying Snakes (they exist...)



Some new research from George Washington University dived into the mysterious techniques of flying snakes, and how that actually seem to dart through the air. Could these tactics be used today to solve mechanical issues?


What the researchers did seems a little odd, but hey, it got results. Their tactic was to launch the snakes off actual cranes (don't worry, they can FLY) and observe their gliding abilities.

Just for context: A normal aircraft will gradually increase lift as the angle of attack is increased, and then once the angle of attack reaches the "critical" angle, the lift becomes zero; the aircraft begins to accelerate downward in a freefall, for all intents and purposes.

The researchers hypothesized that the snakes would perform the same way. They predicted the snakes to coil up and use their coiled up body like a flying saucer, creating the necessary lift.

They were right in some sense, but the results of the experiment were nothing but astonishing. As the snakes increased their angles of attack on the way down, the magnitude of their lift increased. After the angle increased for a while, the lift began to decrease, but only slowly.

In other words, they couldn't get the snake to enter an aerodynamic stall...which defies the properties of anything you and I have ever flown in.

Maybe, in the future of aeronautics, the "saucer" approach will be taken, realizing that stalls will be harder to enter. We see too often the effects of aircraft entering stalls, like Asiana 214 and Colgan 3407 in Clarence Center.

Oh, and here's what a flying snake looks like.



Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Terms of Use

The pages of APlusPhysics.com, Physics in Action podcasts, and other online media at this site are made available as a service to physics students, instructors, and others. Their use is encouraged and is free of charge. Teachers who wish to use materials either in a classroom demonstration format or as part of an interactive activity/lesson are granted permission (and encouraged) to do so. Linking to information on this site is allowed and encouraged, but content from APlusPhysics may not be made available elsewhere on the Internet without the author's written permission.

Copyright Notice

APlusPhysics.com, Silly Beagle Productions and Physics In Action materials are copyright protected and the author restricts their use to online usage through a live internet connection. Any downloading of files to other storage devices (hard drives, web servers, school servers, CDs, etc.) with the exception of Physics In Action podcast episodes is prohibited. The use of images, text and animations in other projects (including non-profit endeavors) is also prohibited. Requests for permission to use such material on other projects may be submitted in writing to info@aplusphysics.com. Licensing of the content of APlusPhysics.com for other uses may be considered in the future.

  • Create New...