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So, birds have a rather significant disadvantage, Tthey "jump" into the air, which requires beefy legs that become dead weight in flight.

Bats and giant pterosaurs circumvented this problem through "quad launch". Simply put, they use their wing muscles to "pole-vault" into the air, effectively cheesing through the most difficult part of flying.

My dragons are supposed to do something similar, but there are three things in the way:

  1. Dragons have six limbs, though they mostly serve the purpose of locomotion and derive their strength from leverage instead of bulk. The forelegs are rather weak and take up little space, the humerus of the wing inserts just behind it.
  2. Despite their low density, they weigh at around 500 kilograms and are about as big as a Clydesdale. Sure, they were engineered to make use of carbon allotropes, allowing for their tissues to have higher strength and it's been demonstrated that there is no intrinsic/easy-way-out weight-limit to biological flight.
  3. Compared to giant pterosaurs, dragons have a lower profile, as while they're formidable in combat, a sizable detachment of an army could seriously f them up. Thus, dragons tend to use The Secret Joestar Technique when encountering armies and evac the area, in addition to their adeptness at stealth.

How can I make quad launch work for a six-limbed, quadruped creature that stays closer to the ground and only towers over people in spirit? Demonstrative pictures/videos would be appreciated.

You might want to take a gander at Jabbing Wookiee from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, piece of Sh#t that movie was.

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    $\begingroup$ I can't see the problem. Have you seen how large and long the limbs of bats and pterosaurs have to be to allow for flight compared to their bodies? So long as the arms don't somehow completely prevent the wings from touching the ground properly, they should still be able to perform the launch without major issues, temporarily using the wings as front limbs. I'd be more worried about how a creature twice as heavy as Hatzegopteryx would manage enough strength to remain airborne. Also quick source to how it might look here. $\endgroup$ – ProjectApex Jul 1 at 22:29
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    $\begingroup$ @ProjectApex I let German Science answer that question. The most problematic element is getting strong enough materials for the tendons, bones, and wing membranes, which have to withstand the most stress. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Jul 1 at 22:33
  • $\begingroup$ hope you also have enhanced muscles, because as far as I'm aware 250 kg was the limit for a flying creature as far as earth's biology goes. Personally I more or less liked the jabberwocky design in the movie. The way it uses its wing limbs both for walking is relatively good inspiration for your dragon and represent well what I meant (except those skinny muscles on the wing limbs, those should have trouble lifting the queen of heart's head, let alone that massive dragon). $\endgroup$ – ProjectApex Jul 1 at 22:38
  • $\begingroup$ @ProjectApex Well, this paper says some interesting stuff. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Jul 1 at 22:46
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    $\begingroup$ @ProjectApex Indeed, but I recommend copying the text into notepad or mousepad first. A bit less messy that way. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Jul 1 at 22:50
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How about making the forelegs very long and thin, not strong but with spring like tendons? It creates another problem when figuring out how they tuck away in flight. But maybe it justifies how they take food to their mouths and such.

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Semi Quad-launch

Dragons have different wings to birds and bats. Their wings are attached near the front of their body. Birds and bats on the other hand have wings attached in the middle. That means the dragon needs less air to begin flying.

So use the wings like a bat to launch into a rampant position (see Somerset Flag)

enter image description here

Then push with the back legs for a foot or two of air. Now the shoulders are maybe eight feet above the ground. That's enough to get started.

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