flight


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Related to flight: flight status, Flight game

flight

(flīt)
1. The motion of an object through air.
2. Escape.
[O.E. flyht]

flight

any locomotion through air, either active or passive (gliding). Active flight is brought about by the movement of wings by muscles as in bats, birds and insects; gliding involves a minimum of muscular effort and is found only in some larger birds and certain mammals adapted for flight, such as the flying lemur or flying fox. In birds, muscles are attached directly to the wings and are of two main types: depressor muscles which produce the downstroke and run from the humerus to the STERNUM, and elevator muscles which produce the upstroke and are attached to the upper surface of the HUMERUS by a tendon which runs through the pectoral girdle to the sternum. In insects such as bees, wasps, flies, beetles and bugs, the muscles raising and lowering the wing are attached to the walls of the thorax (indirect flight muscles) and not to the wings and are called asynchronous fibrillar muscles. Direct flight muscles attached to the wings alter the angle and adjust the wings to the resting position. In other insects, for example, the dragonflies, the flight muscles are called synchronous muscles, being attached directly to the wings. Asynchronous wing beats are much slower than synchronous ones.
References in classic literature ?
He reefed hastily to the uttermost, and at the same time depressed the angle of his flight to meet that upward surge.
An adept at winged blackmail, he had no aptitude for wings himself, and when he gazed down at the flying land and water far beneath him, he did not feel moved to attack his captor, now defenseless, both hands occupied with flight.
He had fallen into air-holes before, in previous flights, but this was a far larger one than he had ever encountered.
Yet in North America there are woodpeckers which feed largely on fruit, and others with elongated wings which chase insects on the wing; and on the plains of La Plata, where not a tree grows, there is a woodpecker, which in every essential part of its organisation, even in its colouring, in the harsh tone of its voice, and undulatory flight, told me plainly of its close blood-relationship to our common species; yet it is a woodpecker which never climbs a tree!
Petrels are the most aerial and oceanic of birds, yet in the quiet Sounds of Tierra del Fuego, the Puffinuria berardi, in its general habits, in its astonishing power of diving, its manner of swimming, and of flying when unwillingly it takes flight, would be mistaken by any one for an auk or grebe; nevertheless, it is essentially a petrel, but with many parts of its organisation profoundly modified.
I pray you to draw a flight shaft with all your strength down the valley, that we may see the length of your shoot.
A shout burst from his comrades as they watched the swift and lofty flight of the heavy bolt.
Will you try another flight, or do you stand by your last?
The silent common, the impulse of my flight, the starting flames, were as if they had been in a dream.
I often meditate upon this scene--the two of us, half-grown cubs, in the childhood of the race, and the one mastering his fear, beating down his selfish impulse of flight, in order to stand by and succor the other.
The front of this living column was distinctly marked by a line but very slightly indented, so regular and even was the flight.
The air was filled with their irregular flight, layer rising above layer, far above the tops of the highest pines, none daring to advance beyond the dangerous pass; when, suddenly, some of the headers of the feathered tribes shot across the valley, taking their flight directly over the village, and hundreds of thousands in their rear followed the example, deserting the eastern side of the plain to their persecutors and the slain.