Friday, July 29, 2005

Aeronautical engineering 

Looking at some of the photos here lately, you’d be forgiven for thinking I have an entomological streak. The reality is much more prosaic; insects are simply the nearest thing to wildlife outside my back door. Wildlife that’ll stop in front of the camera long enough to be photographed, that is - about a dozen bird species are regular visitors, but I don’t have the benefits of Doug Thompson’s long lens. Or his hirsute neighbours.

It wouldn’t take much to generate an interest though. As an engineer, I can’t help but marvel at the structures that create and transmit the forces that vibrate the wings without the whole thing falling apart. Click for the enlarged version, look at the joint between wing and body and imagine what goes on there when those wings hum – astonishing! I imagine the muscles are contained within and attatched to that shell-like structure behind the eyes - engine, transmission and final drive all in one unit. Heard that before? However ingenious man is, nature seems to have got there first.

Pity I didn’t get the depth-of-field quite right though... Ah well, next time...

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