National

Feb 17, 2011 6:32 PM by Greg Boyce

Tiny aircraft flies like a humming bird

MONROVIA, Calif. (AP) - A California company says it has demonstrated controlled precision hovering and fast-forward flight by a camera-equipped micro aircraft that flies like a hummingbird.

Monrovia-based AeroVironment on Thursday released video of the remotely controlled Nano Hummingbird it developed for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The artificial hummingbird uses only its two flapping wings for propulsion and control. For the video, an operator flew it outdoors and then through a doorway into a building.  The prototype has a wingspan of 6.5 inches, weighs two-thirds of an ounce and has a body fairing shaped like a real hummingbird.
AeroVironment was founded by the late Paul MacCready, designer of the pioneering human-powered flying machines Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross. The company also makes unmanned military aircraft systems.

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