Here is the video that went around the various pilot and scientific blogs a couple of months ago. Festo has really done a great job with a flying bird. The advertising copy says:
“SmartBird is an ultralight but powerful flight model with excellent aerodynamic qualities and extreme agility. With SmartBird, Festo has succeeded in deciphering the flight of birds – one of the oldest dreams of humankind.
This bionic technology-bearer, which is inspired by the herring gull, can start, fly and land autonomously — with no additional drive mechanism. Its wings not only beat up and down, but also twist at specific angles. This is made possible by an active articulated torsional drive unit, which in combination with a complex control system attains an unprecedented level of efficiency in flight operation. Festo has thus succeeded for the first time in creating an energy-efficient technical adaptation of this model from nature.”