Browse content similar to Episode 3. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Animals are amazing.
And the more we find out about them, the more amazing they seem.
That feels pretty harsh.
That's why scientists all over the world
are trying their best to copy them.
This is the future! Making brand-new inventions...
..based on what animals can do.
Some are astounding.
We've just dived under the sea!
This is not at all pleasant.
Yes! It's gone!
But they're all inspired by the miracles of nature.
How scientists designed this
by watching this.
Leonardo da Vinci designed a flying machine by studying birds.
You would think that by now,
more than 100 years after we first invented aircraft,
after airliners and jet fighters and spacecraft,
there wouldn't be much left we could learn from birds
about flying...but you'd be wrong.
Take this bird, for instance
He has a lot to teach us.
Even though his big body and relatively small wings
make him look about as likely to get off the ground as I am.
This is Cody, and he is a cape vulture.
And these are not being worn for fashion reasons.
That's a really big beak
and eyes are kind of tempting, apparently.
'But to find out what makes cape vultures like Cody
'so special, I'm going to need to get higher.
'Quite a lot higher.'
It's about 500 metres down there.
And shortly, I shall be jumping off the edge
with nothing but the contents of that man's rucksack
between me and certain doom.
That's assuming he's brought the right rucksack
and we don't jump off the edge with his flask and some sandwiches.
'Walter Nesser is a vulture expert.
'Unfortunately for me, he also happens to be an expert paraglider.'
Oh, now I feel secure.
I don't want to wait too long, Walter, I really don't.
Just don't... I just want to... Oof!
-All right, the wind is really good, are you ready?
Oh! My God!
-Now you can sit back in the harness.
-Oh, sitting back in the harness?
-You doing all right?
-I'm scared...on an Olympic scale.
All right, have a look up to your left.
Look at them now, they're coming to join us!
We are circling with them, it's astonishing!
We're in the same thermal that they are.
Ah, this is incredible.
Vultures find it hard to get off the ground.
But if they launch themselves off cliffs, like we've just done,
they can use updrafts of wind to simply soar.
Seeing them on the ground,
you wouldn't believe they were such good fliers.
And yet, here they are doing it - elegantly, beautifully.
It sounds impossible, but they make it look easy.
Up here, in these columns of rising air,
those short, stubby wings give them a big advantage.
They've got these reduced spans, but still with good performance.
And you need to be really manoeuvrable.
So, you need to be able to turn inside this tight bubble of air.
And that is probably why their wings are so small.
With the wind doing the work to keep them up,
they just need to be able to turn really quickly,
making sure they stay where the updraft is.
And it's those astonishing abilities
that have inspired an entirely new form of human transport.
This is the Super Aviator.
But it's not what you think.
Despite the name and the aerodynamic appearance,
this is a plane that will never leave the ground.
Got my head in a fruit bowl, that's nice.
Because it's not designed for the skies.
It's built to go underwater.
The Aviator's owner, John Jo Lewis,
has offered to take me for my first flight beneath the waves.
Commencing our dive.
-We just dived under the sea!
So, Rabbit. I have to call you Rabbit, yeah?
We've got handles and everything.
Yeah, that's right. We try and pick a two syllable word,
-and I've been Rabbit for quite a while.
-What am I?
-You're Hamster now.
-Actually, you've always been Hamster.
Yeah, OK. That's familiar. All right, so we are now...
Let me get this right - flying
-even though we are under water.
And literally, our wings are on upside down,
it's as simple as that.
That's right. Rather than keeping us up like an airplane,
it keeps us down... like a flying submarine.
'And down is where we're going.
'Down to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.'
You've put us in a descent down into a valley.
And there we go.
And it's here that Rabbit shows me
just what the Super Aviator is capable of.
This is magnificent!
'And as we circle and descend,
'the link with our birds becomes obvious.'
So, what we are is an upside down vulture under the sea.
And the reason we're like a vulture is we have quite a large body
in proportion to which, quite small, stubby wings.
Yeah. They're short which keeps us manoeuvrable and allows us to go
into tight places, manoeuvre around wrecks
and not bump into anything.
In the same way that a vulture needs to have short wings
so it can be manoeuvrable and turn and stay inside those thermals.
You couldn't do this with long wings on your flying submarine.
That's right. That really is what allows us to have
the manoeuvrability that we do.
We've swapped the lift of a thermal for the buoyancy of water.
It's a mirror image of what happens in the air.
Like the vulture, the Aviator needs quite a lot of energy
to get it away from the surface.
But once it's down there, that vulture technology
enables it to simply glide.
And now a big old climb starts.
Steep ride back.
Oh! That feels pretty harsh.
That's a pretty a extreme feeling
when you see the top, the surface of the sea getting closer
-It's like driving at a wall.
We're about to broach.
And there is the surface! That's... Ah!
It feels pretty good.
Amazing! A submarine based on the way a vulture flies.
That's got to be one of the miracles of nature.