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Mr Nick Durston


After completing my degree in Aerospace Engineering in 2011, I joined Rolls-Royce where I completed the graduate scheme and worked as a development engineer on the 'Environmentally Friendly Engine' programme. In 2014 I began my PhD at the University of Bristol on the flight dynamics of gliding birds of prey. I developed a photogrammetric rig, based on a multi-stereo arrangement, to measure the wings, body and tail of a freely gliding barn owl and peregrine falcon. I used the data to generate 3D-printed models that have been tested in a wind tunnel and used for computational aerodynamics analysis. By combining the aerodynamic measurements from freely flying birds with the inertia tensors measured using X-ray computed tomography (CT) scans of naturally deceased birds, I am able to quantify the static and dynamic stability of gliding birds. I have also been involved in development of my photogrammetric rig for use with high-speed cameras, allowing the temporal changes in wing shape to be measured at high frequency (1000Hz).