Model Kits






for building your own radio controlled ornithopter

Tip #1: The most consistently successful wing design for ornithopters is the membrane wing. Use a straight spar at the leading edge of the wing. Battens are often used to support the wing surface, and they should radiate outward from the front, inside corner of the wing.

Tip #2: Wings should be made of a non-stretchy fabric or plastic film. Icarex coated polyester is the best fabric for ornithopter wings. For even lighter weight, a polyester (mylar) film can be used. Don't use nylon kite fabrics or stretchy plastic films.

Tip #3: Getting ornithopters to steer properly is tricky. Using a rudder and elevator like you see on airplanes will give you good results. If you want the tail to look more like a bird tail, that might be less effective. Check out the video of our bird-tailed ornithopter. Instead of relying on the bird tail as the main steering, we used a system for adjusting the tension on the left and right wings.

As with airplanes, if you are using a rudder to steer, you need dihedral in the wings. This can be adjusted on the BirdKit ornithopter gearbox.