Formation Flight of Birds

  title={Formation Flight of Birds},
  author={Peter B. S. Lissaman and Carl A. Shollenberger},
  pages={1003 - 1005}
Formation flight of birds improves aerodynamic efficiency. Theoretically, 25 birds could have a range increase of about 70 percent as compared with a lone bird, the advantage being more pronounced when there is a tail wind. A vee formation is required to equally distribute the drag saving, and, contrary to other statements, the lead bird does not necessarily have the most strenuous position. The angle of the predicted vee compares with that observed in nature; stability mechanisms are described… 

Aerodynamic Benefit of Aircraft Formation Flight

The improved aerodynamic efficiency of formation flight is a result of induced drag reductions when multiple wings fly in close lateral proximity to one another to take advantage of the upwash fields

Aerodynamics: The cost of flight in flocks

Close monitoring of 18 pigeons during 7 bouts of flight around their home loft, in which they clocked up more than 9 pigeon-hours and 400 pigeon-kilometres of flight, suggests that there is a high cost involved in formation flying.

A Study on Optimal Pattern and Leader Shift of Formation Flight

The aerodynamics of formation flight are studied by modeling wings using a horseshoe vortex. During flight in formation, wings receive upwash created by other wings, and the required power

Energy saving in flight formation

It is shown that great white pelicans trained to fly in 'V' formation save a significant amount of energy by flying in formation, probably a principal reason for the evolution of flight formation in large birds that migrate in groups.

Energetics of Flight

Four animal groups have evolved flapping flight—insects, pterosaurs, birds, and bats—all of which show advanced morphological and physiological specializations associated with aerial locomotion.

Wake aerodynamics of flapping systems in formation flight

It is hypothesized that mechanistic signal transmission through wakes is universal and this work uses aerodynamics to identify these signals and elucidate their transport in a modeled dipolar double gyre wake, illustrating that the gradients of signals favor a V-shaped formation.

Analysis of bird formations

This work explains the phenomenon of birds in V formations using a simple bird model and systems theory and concludes that predecessor-following is an inherently poor strategy for formation flight.

An Analysis of Function in the Formation Flight of Canada Geese

Comparison of observed positioning patterns with criteria for optimal function suggests priority may be given to the maximization of energy savings within limits imposed by environmental and other constraints.



Flight of Birds

DURING the hurricane of October 6, 1873, I was residing on the west shore of Biscayne Bay, South Florida. In the early part of the gale, and while it was approaching its height, I noticed overhead


Bird flight can be studied neither as a problem in physics nor from the standpoint of biology alone. Both points of view are necessary and complementary.