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Biophysics: Airspeed of an unladen colugo...? Answered

I'm looking for hard data on the relationship between typical airspeed / stall speed, glide angle, and wing loading of large gliding/flying mammals like the colugo, japanese giant flying squirrel, and flying foxes. 

At first glance, Google turns up these facts with minimal digging. The catch is that the data are provided for different individuals, which is almost useless for my purposes. 

Could someone point me toward a source that has all three pieces of information for the same individual, and preferably lists them for several individuals? Better still, is there an existing paper comparing the relationship between these numbers across unrelated species?


I had previously read the paper you mentioned and found it interesting. Unfortunately, their focus was on the takeoff and landing forces and did not mention wing loading. I looked at those referenced articles that were free full text. One on small flying squirrels had a chart with mass and area (from which I could calculate loading) but no airspeed. Another on (tiny) snakes had glide angle and airspeed, but no wing loading. I'm afraid this didn't help me.

The suggestion to email the author might help. I suppose it's worth a try.

Still, is there someone out there with university access to journals who can tell me whether wing loading is in fact proportional to the square of the airspeed in heavy (>1kg) gliding animals, and (if so) whether this constant of proportionality applies across species?

I agree. That first article was fascinating. I was also unaware that primates other than colugos have aerodynamic properties.

I googled the references the blog posting. One of them might hold the answer to my question about the relationship between wing loading and airspeed. I'm afraid the ones available for free did not.

As for the journal article, it's also interesting that all the species of gliding marsupials that they measured had very similar wing loadings.

So, we're getting closer to the answers you need.

Now you need a friendly university librarian to get you access through the academic pay-wall.

Does it cover airspeed velocities of unladen swallows?


That was my first thought when I saw the question's title...

You may have to compile the data yourself. Just start a spreadsheet and when you find a datum, input it. If can get a large enough sample size in each category you should be able to construct a useable model for any given colugo, or flying squirrel, etc. Just don't mix the data of the different species unless you want an approximation for use across all of the species.