Title: Stability versus Maneuverability in Hovering Flight
Abstract: Insects and birds are often faced by opposing requirements for agile and stable flight. In this talk, I will explore the interplay between aerodynamic effort, maneuverability, and stability in a model system that consists of an inanimate flyer hovering in vertically oscillating airflows. I will discuss the effective conditions that lead to periodic hovering in terms of two parameters: the flyer's shape (opening angle) and the effort (flow acceleration) needed to keep the flyer aloft. One finds optimal shapes that minimize effort. A closer look at the hovering stability shows a transition from unstable, yet maneuverable, to stable hovering. Interestingly, this transition occurs at post-optimal shapes, that is, at increased aerodynamic effort. These results have profound implications on the interplay between stability and maneuverability in live organisms as well as on the design of man-made air vehicles.
Bio: Eva Kanso is an associate professor and the Z.H. Kaprielian Fellow in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California. Her research interests lie in fluid mechanics and dynamical systems with applications to biolocomotion and biological flows. Prior to joining USC, she held a two-year postdoctoral position in Computing and Mathematical Sciences at Caltech, as well as a visiting researcher position at Princeton University. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and her M.A. in Mathematics from UC Berkeley. She is the recipient of an NSF early CAREER development award and a Junior Distinguished Alumnus award from the American University of Beirut.