Incredible RC Dragonfly!

Mar 30, 2013 9 Comments by

The engineers at Festo, the same folks who designed the amazing SmartBird, have now created a four-winged dragonfly they call “BionicOpter.” Here’s the scoop from their website and don’t miss the video of the dragonfly in flight below!

With the BionicOpter, Festo has technically mastered the highly complex flight characteristics of the dragonfly. Just like its model in nature, this ultralight flying object can fly in all directions, hover in mid-air and glide without beating its wings.

RC Dragonfly

In addition to control of the shared flapping frequency and twisting of the individual wings, each of the four wings also features an amplitude controller. The tilt of the wings determines the direction of thrust. Amplitude control allows the intensity of the thrust to be regulated. When combined, the remote-controlled dragonfly can assume almost any position in space.


This unique way of flying is made possible by the lightweight construction and the integration of functions: components such as sensors, actuators and mechanical components as well as open- and closed-loop control systems are installed in a very tight space and adapted to one another.

 With the remote-controlled dragonfly, Festo demonstrates wireless real-time communication, a continuous exchange of information, as well as the ability to combine different sensor evaluations and identify complex events and critical states.

Debra Cleghorn, Featured News, Smart Fly

About the author

Model Airplane News Executive editor. About me: I’m a publishing professional who has a passion for aviation and RC, and I love creating issues, books and a website that help RC pilots to enjoy this sport even more. I admire scale aircraft and enjoy the convenience of flying smaller electrics.

9 Responses to “Incredible RC Dragonfly!”

  1. Robert D. Stahlbush says:

    I found this article fascinating. As a mechanical engineer, I make an assumption that Festo is the same manufacturer of pneumatic devices and associated controls.
    This dragonfly is an example of where we’ve come in miniaturization of actuators and controls……amazing

  2. Dennis says:

    Okay indoors it flies well! How about in 5mph wind or above?

  3. Tom Lanka says:

    Very impressive. Congratulations!

  4. Rich Uravitch says:

    Absolutely amazing! Incredible what focused thinking can achieve!

  5. Jeff Garland says:

    Love ornithopters! Where do I get one :-)

  6. Jack Steinhauser says:

    Beautiful video and amazing piece of technology!

  7. John Baker says:

    Are there plans for manufacture and if so, by whom and when?????

    • Debra Cleghorn says:

      I wish! This is a one-of-a-kind creation and I think it may be a few years before we see anything like it commercially available. Festo also created the SmartBird over a year ago and we haven’t seen anything close to it in the marketplace.

  8. George L. Davis III says:

    Can I buy one

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