When it comes to pushing against fluids (such as water and air) you gotta get speed, demon speed! Speed is what we need! We need greasy-fast speed! It's rather apparent that slow-moving objects tend to meet less air-resistance than faster ones. Birds use said resistance to push against the air and go upwards. Well, there's more to it but that's the basic idea.

For powered fliers (which are more-or-less the bane of my existence), their wingtips travel the longest distance under the same angular velocity, i.e: they're the fastest part of the wing and thus have the most potential to generate force...

Yet, out of all the wing shapes I could find, only Alduin's (see pic related) seem to even attempt to get broader towards the tip.

While one explanation could be that such adaptation never evolved, or had the chance to evolve; it could also have required stronger bones and skin to withstand the forces involved.

Or alternatively, I missed something that would have revealed that this wing-design was terribly ineffective.

I honestly don't know. I already justified most of my dragons' characteristics with biogenic super materials, I could wave my hands and say that dragon wings can take a lot of stress without being heavier, but would that make this wing design superior to others at force-production during flapping flight?

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ one thing that might be an issue is torsion strain---it'll be hard to keep the wingtips at the right angle if they aren't anchored to the body by the rest of the wing $\endgroup$
    – Sol
    Sep 14, 2020 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ Um... You put science based and then include a picture of a dragon that, at least on Earth, clearly cannot fly. Dragons require magic. Look at those feet and that tail. It would need much more wing area. $\endgroup$
    – puppetsock
    Sep 14, 2020 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ Also, in real birds, "assuming the wing is strong enough" is just wrong. Wings are a compromise among many factors: weight, strength, flight style, and a bunch of other things. For example, check out how bird bones are constructed to be light. $\endgroup$
    – puppetsock
    Sep 14, 2020 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ @puppetsock I've put in a picture where the shape of Alduin's wings clearly shows, everything else is irrelevant. $\endgroup$ Sep 14, 2020 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ "Only Alduin's [wings] seem to even attempt to get broader towards the tip": You didn't look in the right places. Dragons are fictional, but helicopters are real. Kamov Ka-52. Mil Mi-8. Mil Mi-28. Sikorsky S-64. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 14, 2020 at 19:19

1 Answer 1


I would say that the dragon wings you show are based on exaggerated bat-wings

enter image description here

If we look at the following drawing of a bat, we can see see how it is similar in anatomy to the dragon

enter image description here

In fact, I have edited this to make it much more like the dragon's anatomy.

enter image description here

My suggestion is that you could imagine a bat in the above form being able to fly although it might be considerably disabled.

Speed of flight

There is a claim here that, quote:

Brazilian free-tailed bats may have achieved speeds of up to 160 kilometres per hour in level flight, which would make them faster than any bird.

enter image description here

However those wings appear to taper towards the ends, as do the wings of many fast-flying birds such as swifts.

This may also be contradicted by the speeds shown in the following table. It seems to contradict the claims about the bat being faster. I think more research would be needed on both counts.

List of birds by flight speed

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    $\begingroup$ Holy ****, this resignifies the expression "bat out of hell"! $\endgroup$ Sep 15, 2020 at 2:49
  • $\begingroup$ However, this doesn't answer the OP's question. Unless what you're explaining is that the very opposite of what Meph is looking for is superior? (He asked if paddle-shaped wings would in any way be superior....) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 15, 2020 at 5:36
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH - Ah sorry. I should have been more explicit. Yes my intention was to say that paddle-shaped wings aren't good for speed (the requirement for which was emphasised strongly in the first sentences of the question). I'll add some more to my answer about this. $\endgroup$ Sep 15, 2020 at 8:44
  • $\begingroup$ That's cheating! I said allocating wing area, not decreasing it! It's gonna have trouble flying because you increased its wing loading! $\endgroup$ Sep 15, 2020 at 20:01

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