Monday, September 27, 2010

Flying fish

Not sure how common it is, but it sure seemed pretty common to have flying fish boarding parties when offshore sailing. Here is some info on the critters:

FROM Leonardo da Vinci to the Wright brothers and among today’s aircraft designers, there is a fascination in studying the wings of birds, better to understand the mysteries of flight. But there are also more than 60 species of fish that have the ability to take to the air, and new research shows they could have a trick or two to help make aircraft fly more efficiently.

Flying fish can whip their tails back and forth with tremendous speed to propel themselves out of the water. Once airborne, they use long pectoral fins and shorter pelvic fins on the sides of their bodies to create lift, much like the wings of an aircraft. Sometimes the fish fly to escape fast-swimming predators like dolphins and tuna, but they may also take to the air because it is an efficient way to speed up their movement. Whatever the reason, once aloft they can glide for more than 40 seconds, cover 400 metres (1,312 feet) and move at about 70kph (43mph). Read more.

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