Remember when I said that flying creatures are a nightmare to design?

Well, looks like dragons and gryphons were just the beginning, we still have two other species to cover, and they're worse.

Humanoids with a separate pair of wings- Be it angels, dragon-like humanoids, or bird people, they don't look like any other flying creature, therefore I don't have a clue how they'd take off.

On paper, they have six limbs, the extra pair being the broad soaring wings. They're located under the arms and towards their back. I leave the details at that for now.

While birds are upright, their wings have a different angle of attack than winged humanoids. Furthermore, winged humanoids have weaker legs, compared to birds.

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Well then, let's assume we managed to get the right mass fractions (large fliers need 20-25% of their total mass to be their flight muscles), and with the help of tissues made of flexible biogenic aerogel, they have protection against blunt force trauma to a degree, plus it makes them look bigger without adding weight.

Okay? Well then, assuming they can fly under their own power, how would they take off to begin with?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What about the way actual birds take off is not relevant here? They don't use arms, why would your avians? Threre isn't a worldbuilding problem to solve here unless you explain why the physics/behavior of real birds don't meet your needs (remember, SE is not a discussion forum and you need to explain how you'll pick a best answer or this is opinion-based). $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 2:59
  • $\begingroup$ i think the wings type or shape including the feather type need to be a factor too, some can just lift as is, some require running to gain leverage wind, some by diving from high place to gain the wind like bat. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 4:37
  • $\begingroup$ Ouf. Too much leg mass, not nearly enough wing breast muscle, and too little... make that NO tail for stability? $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ Actually it is quite possible for Them to simply take off if their weight is less than the strength of the wings muscles $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 23:59

1 Answer 1


There are essentially three possibilities. If the wings are small enough they can just start flapping (this seems less likely). Otherwise they would either need to run into the wind like the sand crane does OR jump off of a high enough spot to gain speed to generate the lift required. As far as I can see it those last two could both be done by winged humanoids because they would have the leg strength and stamina to perform a running take off and leaping off a cliff or building or similar could be done quite easily. Long story short they need a running start or something to leap from.


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