Ask an Explainer


What is an ornithopter?


An ornithopter is a birdlike machine that generates lift and thrust by flapping its wings. An ornithopter doesn't need to have feathers, though. The word "ornithopter" comes from the Greek words for "bird" and "wing." The first ornithopters capable of flight were toys built in the late 19th century in France. Large-scale, piloted ornithopters were first developed in the early 20th century. Piloted ornithopters come in two basic categories: engine powered and human powered.


Ask an Explainer