Making Pterosaurs Fly

5. Bramwell and Whitfield 1974

Cherrie Bramwell, a bat expert, and George Whitfield, an aeronautical engineer, teamed up to write a paper on the flight of Pteranodon.  This was to be a development of the work of Hankin and Watson to look at the aerodynamics and osteological anatomy of this large pterosaur.

The end product of the work was a theoretically accurate model Pteranodon glider with a wingspan of 7 meters.  The glider had a radio control system which allowed it to be controlled in flight.  The model flew at Membury in the Summer of 1974.

This model is now in the Portsmouth University, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Bramwell C. D. and Whitfield G. R., 1970, Flying speed of the largest aerial vertebrate. Nature, Lond.225, 660–661.

Bramwell C. D. and Whitfield G. R., 1974, Biomechanics of Pteranodon. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, B.267, pp.503-581

Bramwell C. D. and Whitfield G. R., 1974, D. M. S. Watson’s notes on pterosaurs. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 267, 587–589

Cherrie Bramwell graduated in Zoology at Burbeck College and was an expert on bats.  She is best known for her talks on dinosaurs and her eccentric habit of wearing a live pet fruit bat around her neck as a fashion accessory.

George Whitfield was an astronomer, mathematician and an RAF lecturer in electronics.  He was known as Readings Glider Man as a result of his interest in gliders and flight.

1. The Background

2. Ernst Stromer 1913

3. Hankin and Watson 1914

4. Erich von Holst 1957

5. Bramwell and Whitfield 1974

6. Stephen Winkworth 1984

7. Paul MacCready 1985

8. Margot Gerritsen 2005

9. Matt Wilkinson 2007


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