Aerospace company BAE Systems has been working with researchers at City, University of London, to create several concepts based on studying the falcon .
One of the concepts involves densely-packed polymer filaments that could act as "feathers" on the body of the aircraft. They would be able to regulate airflow over the fuselage and and reduce drag on the body of the plane.
Peregrine falcons use their feathers to stabilise themselves during high-speed dives and alter their angle of attack.
If the bird exceeds its optimum angle by a very small margin, feathers at the rear of its wings start to vibrate. These vibrations are detected by nerves in the body, warning the bird that it may be about to take a tumble and fall from the sky.
"Bio-inspiration is not a new concept; many technologies that we use every day are increasingly inspired by animals and nature,” said Professor Clyde Warsop, a specialist in Aerodynamic Flow Control at BAE Systems’ military aircraft based at Filton in Bristol and Warton in Lancashire.
A further technology has been inspired by the falcon’s ability to stabilise itself after swooping or landing by ruffling its feathers.
Small flexible or hinged flaps on an aircraft could allow the wing to manoeuvre quickly and land more safely at lower speeds.
The added safety margin gained using this approach could allow future aircraft of a more compact design or to carry more fuel.