David E. Alexander's fascination with the many animals and plants that have harnessed the air is evident in this book, a detailed account of our current scientific understanding of the primary aspects of flight in nature. Instead of relying on elaborate mathematical equations, Alexander explains the physical basis of flight with sharp prose and clear diagrams. Drawing upon bats, birds, insects, pterosaurs and even winged seeds, he details the basic operating principles of wings and then moves progressively through more complex modes of animal flight, including gliding, flapping, and manoeuvering. In addition to summarizing the latest thinking about flight's energy costs, Alexander presents a holistic view of flight and its ramifications as he explores the ecology and evolution of flying animals, addressing behaviourally important topics such as migration and navigation. With somewhat surprising answers, the author then concludes his study by examining the extent to which natural flight has been inspiring or instructive for the architects of human flight - airplane designers and engineers. Scientifically accurate yet accessible, the book should interest not only amateur and professional ornithologists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists, naturalists, physiologists, and engineers, but also anyone who is curious about the effects of flight on the evolution and diversity of the natural world.
The dust jacket is bumped along the top and bottom edges and has a slight tear up the spine, Internally the book is in very good condition.