Bumblebee Flight in Heavy Turbulence

T. Engels, D. Kolomenskiy, K. Schneider, F. O. Lehmann, J. Sesterhenn

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45 Citations (Scopus)


High-resolution numerical simulations of a tethered model bumblebee in forward flight are performed superimposing homogeneous isotropic turbulent fluctuations to the uniform inflow. Despite tremendous variation in turbulence intensity, between 17% and 99% with respect to the mean flow, we do not find significant changes in cycle-averaged aerodynamic forces, moments, or flight power when averaged over realizations, compared to laminar inflow conditions. The variance of aerodynamic measures, however, significantly increases with increasing turbulence intensity, which may explain flight instabilities observed in freely flying bees.

Original languageEnglish
Article number028103
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


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