I need help with figuring out how two different types of wings would work for two different types of human-like creatures. This includes how they would fly [flapping, wing length, other things that must be changed about the body to compensate for the effort.]

The first type is sort of like a dragon turned into a human. They have scales, along with webbed wings on their backs. The second has wings in the same position, but are closer to humans in design. They have feathered wings.

So, my questions are these: How long would wings have to be in comparison to the body? How would flying mechanics work? How would the body structure have to be different than a human's?

  • $\begingroup$ Giants could also be considered humanoids, but I'm assuming the ones you are describing would be similar to average height and weight of a human? It's good to be as specific as possible so you can have the most accurate and helpful answers. $\endgroup$
    – K Johnson
    Commented Mar 10, 2018 at 7:05

1 Answer 1


THE MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEM with realistically designing (which is why you're asking questions about flying mechanics) a winged humanoid: on non-insect animals, the wings are the front legs (aka "our arms"). To have arms and wings, the wings would naturally have to come out of the humanoid's back.

But the wing bones need sockets to attach to. The only place to put it would be on the scapula (which is the large triangular bone).

And muscles to pull the wings back and forth. The humanoid will look hunchbacked.

This would also mean that this humanoid has three pairs of limbs.

No big deal, so far.

But two big problems:

  1. Wings don't provide that much down-force, so the body (most especially the bones) must be light, and thus pretty fragile.
  2. Big wings move slowly. That's why large birds mostly soar and live up high so they can "jump" out of the nest into a soar. Large sea birds need a running start. These humanoids would, too.

Thus, my recommendation is to ignore hard realism and ignore reality, just like everyone else who designs angels and bird-people... :)

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also, take into account moment of the limbs. You want most, if not all, of your mass to be as close to the wing joint as possible, to ensure both stability and manoeuvrability. A realistic, winged human looks a lot like... a bird. $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Commented Mar 10, 2018 at 7:13

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