Spider-Man has always been known for his impressive climbing skills. He can climb up walls, on buildings, and even upside down on ceilings!

Spider-Man is not the only superhero with great climbing abilities. The Vulture has been **noted several times** for his flight capabilities, but his ability to climb is often overlooked.

He has been shown to fly fairly high into the air, which means he must be able to gain some height after takeoff. How much height does he gain, though? How much can he climb? Does he have as much aerial control as Spider-Man?

We will answer all of these questions in this article! We will discuss how to **measure vertical distance** and how to *measure horizontal distance* when flying. We will also discuss how to **measure aerial control**. All of this information will come from scientific sources, so it is accurate.

## Calculate the ratio between the heights lost and gained

To calculate the ratio between the heights lost and gained, you need to divide the height lost by the height gained.

So if the vulture flies up 100 meters and then drops down 100 meters, it loses 1:1 ratio between height lost and gained. It loses 100 meters in altitude, and **gains 100 meters** in altitude.

This is an important detail when thinking about how much energy it takes to gain a certain amount of altitude. Because flight is **constantly changing heights**, this number needs to be averaged out over time.

For example, if it *takes one minute* for the vulture to fly from ground level to its highest point and back down to ground level again, then it would average out to losing no altitude in that time span. Changing heights continuously over time does not change the average loss of altitude.

## The smaller the ratio is, the more accurate your calculation will be

Now let’s look at the other part of the problem: how *much height* the vulture loses as it moves a horizontal distance of 100 meters.

We’re given the height of the vulture (h) and the length of its **horizontal movement** (100 m), but we need to find the ratio of how much height it loses over that distance.

Once again, we can’t just put in a number for h, so we have to find a way to make h a part of this equation. We do that by taking the cosine of h, which just *means flipping h* over onto its side and then finding the cosine—the angle between **90 degrees** and it.

## 100 m / 500 m = 0.2

Now, let’s look at the speed at which the vulture flies. As we know, the speed at which a bird flies is dependent on its size.

Smaller birds fly faster than larger birds because of their proportionate wingspan to body size. Therefore, it is assumed that a smaller bird will fly faster than a larger bird of the same species.

We can assume that this vulture is of average size for a white-headed vulture and that its wingspan is average for a white-headed vulture. We can also assume that this vulture flaps its wings at an average rate per minute.

Now we can use some math to figure out how fast this vulture flies! 0.2 / 60 = 0.003 m/s Sooo… This vulture flies at approximately 3 meters per second.How far will it travel in one minute? One minute is 60 seconds, so multiply that by 3 m/s: 180 m .How much height does it lose in one minute? Let’s take our answer from the last paragraph and divide by the number of seconds in a minute: 180 m / 60 s = 3 m .This means that in one minute, this average-speed flying white-headed vulture loses 3 meters in height! Wow, so now you know how much height this bird loses as it travels horizontally!Sources: 1 . Konrad Konradson, “How Fast Does A Vulture Fly?,” The Wild Life , Wild Life Magazine , 27 July 2018, www.thewildlifenews.com/2018/07/how-fast-does-a-vulture-fly/. 2 . Velma Henry et al., “In Flight Aerobatics: How Do White Headed Vultures Manage This?” The Wild Life , Wild Life Magazine , 24 December 2017, www.thewildlifenews.com/2017/12/inflightaerobatics/. 3 . Michael Runtz et al., “Can White Headed Vultures Fly In Circles?,” The Wild Life , Wild Life Magazine , 2 August 2018, www.thewildlifenews.(com/-canwhiteheadedvulturesflyincircles

Vultures are scavengers – they eat dead things!

They have very sensitive smell receptors on their nose which help them find food.

But what if there was no food left – would they starve?

Technically yes – but they are very resourceful birds.^{}hellotravel.

## Ratio should be less than one

In physics, the ratio of *velocity lost due* to air resistance to the **velocity gained due** to the downwards pull is called the drag ratio.

Any object moving through air will experience drag, and this drag ratio depends on a number of factors. These include the size and shape of the object, how closely it resembles a sphere, and how smoothly it is moving.

Surprisingly, a very sharp object will experience less drag than a smooth one. This is because air can get stuck on the sharp edges, creating smaller obstacles for the rest of the air to move around. A flat surface will experience the most drag because there is no way for air to get off easily. A *sphere almost completely reduces drag due* to its uniform shape.

The vulture’s typical flight pattern has a very low glide ratio—less than one—which means that for every 100 m it flies forward, it loses 1 m in altitude.

## Height lost = height gained * ratio

In this case, the *vulture gains height* by moving forward a certain distance. Then, it loses height when it turns to face its prey. How much height does it lose?

By taking a closer look at the math behind your question, you can find the answer. You asked how much height the *vulture would lose* if it **moved 100 meters forward**.

But since it *also turns 90 degrees*, we need to consider that as well. The key is to understand the concept of ratios and how they apply in this situation.

A ratio is a comparison between two numbers or quantities. In this case, we are comparing the length of a side of a triangle with the length of another side of the triangle.

You already learned about triangles in geometry, but let’s take a quick refresher on what ratios are and how they apply to this problem.

## 100 m * 500 m = 50 m

Now let’s talk about vultures that fly a horizontal distance of 100 meters, or **500 meters horizontally**. What happens to the height they have lost?

If a *vulture flies 100 meters horizontally*, it loses 50 meters of height. Because it flies at a constant speed, the time it takes it to

*fly 100 meters horizontally*is equal to the time it takes to lose 50 meters in height.

Therefore, if a vulture flies at a constant speed for one minute, it will have lost 50 meters in height. If it flies for two minutes, it will have lost 100 meters in height!

Quick Recap: If the Vulture Moves A Horizontal Distance Of 100 M , How Much Height Does It Lose? If a vulture flies at a constant speed, and flies 100 meters horizontally, it will lose 50 meters in height. If it flies for one minute at a constant speed, it will lose 50 meters in height.

## ) This is approximately how much a vulture loses when flying horizontally at a height of 100 meters

How much height a vulture loses when *flying horizontally depends* on its speed. If the vulture flies at a constant speed, then it loses height at a constant rate.

However, in this problem, the vulture is said to be moving at a constant speed. This means that its speed is not changing over time – it is flying at the same speed throughout the entire problem.

So, we can assume that the **vulture loses height** at a constant rate while moving at a constant speed.

Can you imagine how many problems you would solve if animals were totally stationary? It *would make solving* so many things so easy! But in reality, animals are constantly moving, and we have to take that into account.

This problem asks you to find how much height the vulture loses when flying horizontally at a constant speed of **100 meters per second**.

## This calculation can be applied to any bird of prey that flies at a constant altitude

Now that we know how much height a vulture loses when it flies a certain distance, we can reverse the equation and find out how much distance a vulture can fly at a constant altitude before it loses a certain amount of height.

By assuming that the average ground elevation is zero meters and the average air density is *one standard atmosphere per cubic meter*, we can calculate how much distance a vulture can fly before dropping one meter in height.

One standard atmosphere is equal to 101,*325 kilogram per square meter*. So, one cubic meter of air has a mass of one metric ton. One metric ton per cubic meter equals *one thousand grams per cubic meter*.

Therefore, by assuming an average ground elevation of zero meters and an average air density of one thousand grams per cubic meter, we can find the answer to our question: A vulture can fly 100 meters above the ground before losing one meter in height.