Making Pterosaurs Fly

8. Margot Gerritsen 2005

Up to this point, the flying models of Pterosaurs had all been gliders or simple flapping models, using aeroplane aerodynamic theory in their production. The Stanford Project, which was supported by National Geographic was intended to build a flying model that worked like a real animal. This was an ambitious project and had an extensive team headed by Margot Gerritsen.

The developed models flew in many forms, first taking to the air in 2005 with a stabiliser tail boom to allow the electronic movements to be tested. The model was air lifted and launched at altitude by a carrier plane. Additional model modifications were tested in the following years to develop theory and observe function.

The Stanford model was nicknamed Herki and featured in the TV program "Sky Monsters" broadcast on 11th May 2005.

Margot Gerritsen, Associate Professor, Energy Resources Engineering, Director of the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering. Stanford University

The primary team members of the Sanford Pterosaur Project are;

  Margot Gerritsen - Computational methods and replica design, team leader.
  Kevin Padian - Palaeontology and functional morphology
  Scott Delp - Biomechanics optimisation
  Ilan Kroo - Aerodynamic optimisation
  Eric Hallberg - Flight Simulation

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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