Flapping flight bumps into a size limit after a while because of wingbeat frequency.

My knowledge on birds is rather limited, so here's how I interpreted that:

A longer wing is a longer lever -> Longer lever is harder to move back and forth and also take more time -> Muscle power output can scale 1:1 with mass -> but we also have to account for the longer time-> gravitational constant is: an object is accelerated towards the gravitational center of the planet by 9,81 meters per second

How can I preserve wingbeat frequency while keeping dragons aloft and not completely messing the aspect ratio over?

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    $\begingroup$ Not only longer lever; also much greater area, which needs to move a lot more air... $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 30, 2019 at 12:53
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    $\begingroup$ Why do you need your dragons to flap their wings at high frequencies? Large flying creatures usually use their wings for gliding, which is energetically efficient. Only hummingbirds and insects need to flap their wings fast because they need to remain stationary in the air to get their food from flowers. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2019 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ @ChuckRamirez Flapping frequency continues to decline with increasing mass and wingspan. Dragons also need a way to get high enough to be able to effectively glide. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2019 at 15:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Mephistopheles large birds take-off using their legs but strong legs are dead weight once airborne. Apparently pterosaurus used their forelimbs both to take-off and fly. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2019 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @ChuckRamirez ...and had ~50 kg of anaerobic flight muscle, soley for climb out. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2019 at 17:50

1 Answer 1


You can only row with oars so fast. But if you have more people rowing you can have more oars.

Your big dragon needs more wings!

4 wing dragons


More cute fan-made dragons at link.

  • $\begingroup$ You gave me an idea... $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2019 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Mephistopheles - Images welcome!! $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Mar 30, 2019 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ It's really just taking your idea and combining the wings into one, elongating the torso a tad bit, anchoring the wing to the tail as well and placing reinforcing struts into the wing itself. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2019 at 13:58

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