There is one major advantage the helicopter has that a plane does not – that is, the ability to simply hover around in place, turning 360 degrees in a horizontal plane and take off in that direction after that, but the price to pay would be sacrificing its speed. How about a hovering airplane? That sounds like an amalgamation that hails from the future, but it could very well arrive sooner than we expect. In a new study led by Jun Zhang, a Professor at NYU’s Courant Institute, he realized that hovering in mid-air might actually depend more on weight distribution that previously held, so that translates to the feat being easier to perform for structures that are top-heavy, which is clearly contrary to common perceptions about flight stability.
In order to figure out just which are the structures that maintain their balance best, researchers created paper bugs with different centers of mass, and top-heavy bugs were represented by a weight fixed above the pyramid, and vice versa for low center-of-mass bugs. The study favored the former category, where they hovered around stably instead of those from the bottom heavy group. Just how soon will a hovering plane hit our reality?