Here we show, by qualitative free- and tethered-flight flow visualization, that dragonflies fly by using unsteady aerodynamic mechanisms to generate high-lift, leading-edge vortices. In normal free flight, dragonflies use counterstroking kinematics, with a leading-edge vortex (LEV) on the forewing downstroke, attached flow on the forewing upstroke, and attached flow on the hindwing throughout. Accelerating dragonflies switch to in-phase wing-beats with highly separated downstroke flows, with ...Expand abstract
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Dragonfly flight: free-flight and tethered flow visualizations reveal a diverse array of unsteady lift-generating mechanisms, controlled primarily via angle of attack.
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