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Quetzalcoatlus Northropi

The Quetzalcoatlus northropi replica, named simply QN, is half-scale wing-flapping flying machine. With a wingspan of 18 feet and weighing 40 lbs when completed, it was the largest known flying ornithopter. The QN replica incorporates a custom-built flight control system/autopilot which processes pilot commands and sensor inputs, implements several feedback loops, and delivers command signals to the various servo-actuators. Now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, the QN has a high degree of fidelity in its external cosmetics, which are intended to closely match the features of the original animal of 140 million years ago.

The program was sponsored by Johnson Wax, and many QN flight sequences were filmed and feature in the IMAX motion picture, “On the Wing,” which depicts the evolution of natural flight in relation to the development of civilization’s flying machines.

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