How a dragonfly abilities is more sophisticated than a helicopter?


A picture of a dragonfly looking like a helicopter.


Dragonfly flying abilities


To call a dragonfly a helicopter—a common nickname —is really a disparaging analogy.

Their aerial acrobatics are so fast that it is sometimes impossible for the eye to follow them.

How fast do dragonflies fly?

In short bursts, some species can reach a top speed of up to 60 miles [96 km] an hour.

They can also hover or fly backward, forward, or sideways at a moment’s notice.

Furthermore, when a dragonfly makes a tight turn in the air, scientists calculate, it must withstand a force of up to 2.5 G’s.

Dragonflies have two pairs of flexible, lacelike wings.

Although these wings look delicate, they can beat up to 40 times a second and take knocks with a minimal amount of damage.

Biologist Robin J. Wootton describes them as:

“Small masterpieces of ingenious design. The better we understand the functioning of insect wings, the more subtle and beautiful their designs appear. . . . They have few if any technological parallels.” 

Not surprisingly, the dragonfly’s flight techniques are currently being studied by aeronautical engineers.

While dragonflies may be among the most sophisticated flying machines on earth, others maybe more impressed by their grace and beauty than by their flying abilities.

Their presence adds a special sparkle to our ponds and riverbanks.

They are the ideal jewels—always there to be enjoyed.