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Stable gliding by undulating snakes

Everybody who has ever made a paper airplane and been disappointed as it spins out of control, crashing to the ground, knows how tricky achieving suitable trim and stability for gliding can be. But, somehow, wiggling flying snakes glide without tumbling.

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Fig. 1: Undulation in flying snakes.


  1. Durston, N. E. Quantifying the Flight Stability of Free-Gliding Birds of Prey. PhD Thesis, Univ. Bristol (2019);

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Correspondence to Jim Usherwood.

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Usherwood, J. Stable gliding by undulating snakes. Nat. Phys. 16, 905–906 (2020).

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