Who would have thought that insects could affect the economics of air travel. I’m still not really convinced by this article.
It did, however, inspire today’s invention.
Imagine coating a light aircraft in a form of lightweight, spray-on glue.
If you then fly through dense clouds of insects, a proportion of them will end up trapped by the adhesive but in an orientation which still allows them to flap their wings.
Let’s assume that insects have a mass of 0.1g and can exert a maximum upwards force equal to twice their bodyweight.
This means that a 5000kg aircraft would need about 26 million such insects to provide enough lift to allow it to hover.
Even if that is unattainable outside a locust swarm, insects could still provide a substantial proportion of the lift required to sustain an aircraft in flight, thus increasing fuel economy (albeit in a stupidly cruel way).