We conducted at-scale particle image velocimetry (PIV) experiments and constructed custom 2D and 3D fluid dynamical simulations.
Traditional studies of insect flight involve either building numerical models or performing Reynolds number matched, scaled-up experiments. However, it is difficult to study passive fluid-wing interactions using these approaches. We integrated at-scale flapping-wing experiments and high-fidelity numerical simulations to investigate the influence of wing flexure stiffness on passive wing pitching. These studies lead to 36% improvement of vehicle maximum payload.