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.