Competition & Contests
This is a new
contest sponsored by the Ornithopter Society and open to everyone.
The goal is to become the first person to successfully fly an ornithopter
carrying a 16-pound bowling ball as a payload. There is a prize
for the winner. For more information, please visit the official
If you're a
science teacher, an ornithopter contest in your school is a great
way to motivate your students. They will learn important math, science,
and technology concepts through inquiry and real-world experience.
High school students can compete with relatively simple designs
like the Gryphon from BirdKit.com.
They can also try their own modifications to improve flight times.
A school gym is the perfect setting for such a contest. For sample
contest rules and more instructional ideas related to ornithopters,
see our Teachers Guide.
Olympiad is a national competition for middle and high school
students. Students from different schools compete in various science-related
contest events. Science Olympiad is now offering a trial event for
flying bird models. If your school participates in Science Olympiad,
tell your group advisor that you would like to give this a try.
Here are some helpful resources:
Adults can get
involved in ornithopter competition too! The Academy of Model Aeronautics
(AMA) has an ornithopter event in conjunction with its annual indoor
model airplane competition. The contest is held in Johnson City,
Tennessee, in a giant sports dome! Even so, part of the challenge
is regulating the climb so the ornithopter won't hit the ceiling.
Amazing flight times are possible. Maybe you can break Roy White's
record of 21 minutes, 44 seconds! The ornithopters are more interesting
and varied than fixed-wing contest models, and the ornithopter contest
event always gets a great reaction from spectators!
Indoor Rubber-Powered Ornithopter
you would like to compete in the AMA nationals, you will need to
join the AMA ahead of time and then register
for the contest. AMA membership information and contest
rules can be found on the AMA
web site. They also have information on local clubs that fly
indoor model airplanes.
are afraid to build an ornithopter because they think it's going
to be hard. However, some excellent resources are available, making
it much easier to prepare for indoor ornithopter competition than
it was in the past. You don't have to design your own ornithopter
to compete. If you have a good bit of experience with rubber-powered
airplanes, and if you would like to try competing in the AMA ornithopter
event, visit our plans section for some