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The Miraculous Design of Insects Flight

In the Qur’an, Allah invites all humans to consider this fact: Mankind! An example has been made, so listen to it carefully. Those whom you call upon besides Allah are not even able to create a single fly, even if they were to join together to do it. And if a fly steals something from them, they cannot get it back. How feeble are both the seeker and the sought! (Surat Al-Hajj: 73).

Inspiration for Helicopters: The Dragonfly

The flight system of these insects is nothing less than a wonder of design. The world’s leading helicopter manufacturer, Sikorsky, finished the design of one of their helicopters by taking the dragonfly as a model.[1] IBM, which assisted Sikorsky in this project, started by putting a model of a dragonfly in a computer (IBM 3081).

Two thousand special renderings were done on computer in the light of the maneuvers of the dragonfly in air. Therefore, Sikorsky’s model for transporting personnel and artillery was built upon examples derived from dragonflies.

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Gilles Martin, a nature photographer, has done a two year study examining dragonflies, and he also concluded that these creatures have an extremely complex flight mechanism.

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The body of a dragonfly looks like a helical structure wrapped with metal. Two wings are cross-placed on a body that displays a color gradation from ice blue to maroon. Because of this structure, the dragonfly is equipped with superb maneuverability. No matter at what speed or direction it is already moving, it can immediately stop and start flying in the opposite direction.

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Alternatively, it can remain suspended in air for the purpose of hunting. At that position, it can move quite swiftly towards its prey. It can accelerate up to a speed that is quite surprising for an insect: 25mph (40km/h), which would be identical to an athlete running 100 meters in the Olympics at 24.4mph (39km/h).

At this speed, it collides with its prey. The shock of the impact is quite strong. However, the armory of the dragonfly is both very resistant and very flexible. The flexible structure of its body absorbs the impact of collision. However, the same cannot be said for its prey. The dragonfly’s prey would pass out or even be killed by the impact.

Following the collision, the rear legs of dragonfly take on the role of its most lethal weapons. The legs stretch forward and capture the shocked prey, which is then swiftly dismembered and consumed by powerful jaws.

The sight of the dragonfly is as impressive as is its ability to perform sudden maneuvers at high speed. The eye of the dragonfly is accepted as the best example among all the insects. It has a pair of eyes, each of which features approximately thirty thousand different lenses. Two semi-spherical eyes, each nearly half the size of the head, provide the insect a very wide visual field. Because of these eyes, the dragonfly can almost keep an eye on its back.

Therefore, the dragonfly is an assemblage of systems, each of which has a unique and perfect structure. Any malfunction in any one of these systems would derail the other systems as well. However, all of these systems are created without flaw and, hence, the creature lives on.

Mechanics of Flight

The Miraculous Design of Insects Flight

The wings of flies are vibrated according to the electric signals conducted by the nerves. For example, in a grasshopper each one of these nerve signals results in one contraction of the muscle that in turn moves the wing. Two opposing muscle groups, known as “lifters” and “sinkers”, enable the wings to move up and down by pulling in opposite directions.

Grasshoppers flap their wings twelve to fifteen times a second but smaller insects need a higher rate in order to fly. For instance, while honeybees, wasps and flies flap their wings 200 to 400 times per second this rate goes up to 1000 in sandflies and some 1mm long parasites.[2]

Another explicit evidence of perfect creation is a 1mm long flying creature that can flap its wings at the extraordinary rate of one thousand times a second without burning, tearing or wearing out the insect.

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