Flight is the process of flying: either movement through the air by aerodynamically generating lift or aerostatically using buoyancy, or movement beyond Earth's atmosphere by spacecraft.

Table of contents
1 Animal flight
2 Mechanical flight
3 See also

Animal flight

The most successful groups of living things that fly are insects, birds, and bats. Each of these groups' wings evolved separately from different structures.

Pterosaurs were a group of flying vertebrates contemporaneous with the dinosaurs.

All bats fly, and bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. However, there are several gliding mammals which are able to volplane from tree to tree by making use of fleshy membranes between their limbs: some can travel hundreds of metres in this way with very little loss of height. Flying tree frogs use greatly enlarged webbed feet for a similar purpose, and there are flying lizards which employ their unusually wide, flattened rib-cages to the same end.

Flying fish can glide using enlarged wing-like fins, and have been observed soaring for hundreds of metres using the updraft on the leading edges of waves. It is thought that they evolved this ability to help them escape from underwater predators.

Most birds fly, with some notable exceptions. The largest birds, the ostrich and the emu, are earthbound, as were the now-extinct dodos, while the non-flying penguins have adapted their wings for use under water. Most small flightless birds are native to relatively small islands, and lead a lifestyle such that flight confers little advantage and involves substantial costs.

Among the millions of species of insects, many do not fly.

Among living animals that fly, the wandering albatross has the greatest wingspan, up to 3.5 metres (11.5 feet), and the trumpeter swan perhaps the greatest weight, 17 kilograms (38 pounds).

Fictional: Dumbo, the flying elephant.

Mechanical flight

Flying machines are aircraft, including aeroplanes, helicopters, airships and balloons, and spacecraft.

In the case of an aeroplane flight involves

The same applies for other flying machines and flying animals, except for the taxiing.

See also

Flight is a 1929 movie by Frank Capra.