I found a very interesting journal article about the flying techiques of albatrosses. It describes their ability to soar extreme distances by using the different windspeeds over the open sea, similar to the flying technique of dynamical soaring we use for hanggliding.

It's in PLOS One here

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  • That'd be interesting.  Would it use ground speed to sense its energy level and then turn into the wind to gain altitude, coast downhill again, repeat.  It would need a way to gauge wind at different altitudes, since the gradient is where it gets the energy.

  • I wonder how long it will take intil the first apm powered bird will head over the see using nearly no energy!
  • http://www.howfliesthealbatross.com/ 

    I found it, the interactive simulation, not java but an .exe you have to install it though to run it.  You can tweak a few things and it shows what it looks like in flight.

  • There used to be a java program that simulated albatross DS.  I'll look for it.  It showed similar graphics as the article.  I think it was Helmut Reichmann who was the first in a sailplane.  HIs book on crosscountry soaring is amazing.

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