Teachers Guide

 Insects  Birds  Bats
 Pterosaurs  Fish
 Wing Structures


 Seed Helicopter
 Build a Bird

 Ornithopter Zone
 Web Site Links


Build a Bird!

You can build your own flapping-wing model that flies just like a real bird! This exciting project is called an "ornithopter". It can be completed by middle and high school students. Some students will need help from an adult for some of the steps. Beware of other tutorials that claim to build an ornithopter from household materials. They do not work, but this one does.

There are two ways you can build your own ornithopter: either from a model kit, or from the free plans on this web site. It is much easier to start with the model kit, because it has special components that make it easier to build.

Gryphon Kit
The easiest way is to build the ornithopter from a kit. This way, you'll be sure you have all the right materials, and the kit contains special components that make the kit easier to build. The Gryphon kit is available from BirdKit.com.

Freebird Plans
You can also build your ornithopter by printing the Freebird plans on this web site. The plans are free, but you will need special materials from your local hobby shop. These are listed in the instructions. You will actually save time and money if you order the kit instead. However building from plans is a great next step to further develop your skills. With careful construction, you should end up with a nice flying model either way!
Teachers may copy the plans for school use.

Once you've successfully completed your Freebird ornithopter, you can try many different experiments. For example, you can try making the wings bigger, or smaller, to see what happens. Also try changing the dimensions of the flapping mechanism, or making new wings of your own design. Maybe you can make it look or operate even more like a real bird! Visit The Ornithopter Zone for more ideas, and for more information on flapping-wing aircraft.