flight


flight
flight1
/fluyt/, n.
1. the act, manner, or power of flying.
2. the distance covered or the course taken by a flying object: a 500-mile flight; the flight of the ball.
3. a trip by an airplane, glider, etc.
4. a scheduled trip on an airline: a 5 o'clock flight.
5. a number of beings or things flying or passing through the air together: a flight of geese.
6. the basic tactical unit of military air forces, consisting of two or more aircraft.
7. the act, principles, or technique of flying an airplane: flight training.
8. a journey into or through outer space: a rocket flight.
9. swift movement, transition, or progression: the flight of time.
10. a soaring above or transcending ordinary bounds: a flight of fancy.
11. a series of steps between one floor or landing of a building and the next.
12. Archery.
a. See flight arrow.
b. the distance such an arrow travels when shot.
v.i.
13. (of wild fowls) to fly in coordinated flocks.
[bef. 900; ME; OE flyht; c. D vlucht; akin to FLY1]
Syn. 5. flock. 9. rush, dash, fleetingness.
flight2
/fluyt/, n.
1. an act or instance of fleeing or running away; hasty departure.
2. put to flight, to force to flee or run away; rout: She succeeded in putting the intruder to flight.
3. take flight, to retreat; run away; flee: The wild animals took flight before the onrushing fire. Also, take to flight.
[1150-1200; ME; c. G Flucht; akin to FLEE]

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▪ animal locomotion
      in animals, locomotion of either of two basic types—powered, or true, flight and gliding. Winged (true) flight is found only in insects (most orders), most birds, and bats. The evolutionary modifications necessary for true flight in warm-blooded animals include those of the forelimbs into wings; lightening and fusion of bones; shortening of the torso; enlargement of the heart and thoracic muscles; and improved vision. Similar modifications in insects have occurred through different evolutionary pathways. The advantages conferred by flight are also great: in terms of numbers of species as well as numbers of individuals, insects, birds, and bats are among the most successful animal groups.

      Gliding flight may be of two types: gravitational gliding and soaring. Gravitational gliding may be directed, in which case the animal launches itself toward a definite target, or passive (parachuting), in which case the organism slows its descent, relying on wind for horizontal motion. Adaptations for directed gliding serve primarily to enhance the glide ratio (the amount of horizontal distance covered per unit descent) and include winglike modifications of fins (several fish groups), webs between digits (a frog, Rhacophorus; several lizards), distensible rib-supported vanes (lizards of the genus Draco; several snakes), and a fold of skin between the forelimbs and hind limbs (marsupial gliders; colugo; sciurid and anomalurid flying squirrels).

 Soaring is sustained gliding without power input. It is attained by many birds (especially large forms, such as condors [see photograph—>] and albatrosses) and a few insects (e.g., monarch butterfly). In order to remain airborne, the soarer must glide in a column of air that is rising at a rate exceeding the relative rate of descent of the gliding animal.
 

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Universalium. 2010.

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