Three-dimensional numerical simulation of hummingbird forward flight

Jialei Song, Haoxiang Luo, Bret W. Tobalske, Tyson L. Hedrick

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We have developed a high-fidelity CFD model to analyze fluid dynamics in fast forward flight of a hummingbird, whose three-dimensional wing kinematics were incorporated into the model by extracting the instantaneous wing position from high-speed videos of the bird flying in a wind tunnel. The advance ratio, or the ratio between the flight speed and the wingtip velocity, is around one, and we are particularly interested in how thrust is generated at this fast speed in addition to lift production. Our simulation result has shown that both downstroke and upstroke produce significant amount of thrust for the bird to overcome body drag. This feature places the hummingbird in an interesting position between slow flying insects and fast flying large birds.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication46th AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624104367
StatePublished - 2016
Event46th AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference, 2016 - Washington, United States
Duration: Jun 13 2016Jun 17 2016

Publication series

Name46th AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference


Conference46th AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference, 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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