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The Story of the Fixed-Wing Bird

"Ages and ages ago, Mother Nature outfitted birds with variable sweep wings. Ever since, birds have made good use of these wings, extending them for quick turns, energy-conserving gliding and short landings ... sweeping them rearward for high speed diving, and other fancy wingwork. All in all, the variable sweep bird seems to have been a pretty solid design as there's never been a need for product improvements or model changes.
"Was it something she just lucked into? Was it the result of extensive research and prototyping? Or was it just the natural thing to do?
"We're sure it was the latter but how could we verify it? We found that if the run-of-the-mill, everyday bird had been equipped with a fixed wing, most or all of the following would be true of his characteristics:

  • he would be heavier
  • he would need more food
  • he wouldn't turn as well
  • he wouldn't be able to go as far
  • he would land faster
  • he would need a bigger nest
  • he would cost more (if it were possible to cost account a bird)

"We must admit that when it comes down to our variable sweep wing capabilities, TOMCAT is really a "Copycat"... We just hope that Mother Nature understands that copying is the sincerest form of flattery.
"We agree. Variable Sweep is for the birds... Naturally!" (Grumman)

This abstract can be found in the fine book " F-14 Tomcat in action" by squadron/signal publications.

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