About Christina Harvey's Work
Birds appear to effortlessly perform maneuvers that are outside the capabilities of our most advanced aircraft. If we could integrate avian maneuverability into UAVs, we could open the door for a new era of flight: one in which flight is not constrained to runways, humans can be transported quickly across large city centers, and disaster relief is safer and more efficient. But, to do this, we first need to answer a seemingly straightforward question: how do birds achieve these maneuvers? Here, I propose to combine the traditionally distinct biological and engineering approaches to develop a biologically informed model that can quantify and design for maneuverability. This project integrates an analytical exploration of flight maneuverability metrics with motion tracking techniques, aerodynamic wind tunnel testing, and dynamic modelling. In all, we will establish a new multidisciplinary paradigm to study and quantify flight maneuverability across a diverse set of flyers.