Studying Owl Wings

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,600
    Researchers are studying the quietness of owl flight to inspire new human flight technologies.


    A team of scientists from Lehigh University is studying owls’ wings to develop quieter aircraft and wind turbines.  Several different owl species have special plumage that pretty much eliminates aerodynamic noise from their wings.  Scientists believe that a combination of stiff feathers along the leading edge of the wing, a flexible fringe at the trailing edge of the wing, and downy material distributed at the wing contribute to their quiet flight.  They say if they can establish how this noise-reduction in owls works, the same mechanics could possibly be applied to aircraft, wind turbines, and underwater naval vessels.