Aelian wings are typically 10 to 12 feet when fully outstretched, so 8 feet is not much of a (er, excuse the language) stretch. They're typically held in place by various ligaments when an aelos wishes to glide for an extended period of time, which is significantly less tiring than flying through one's own exertion.
@Garet: A few literary suggestions: try to remove ellipses when your writing doesn't actually need them (or use different notation for emphasis). Variance in how you begin your sentences wouldn't hurt either ; o. And, uh, be careful with how you link your sentences together - that would make reading your sign-up significantly smoother.
A single comment regarding gramarie: you might want to decide which discipline(s) your character has studied the most.
Whooooops I missed this question for two days. Uh, depends on how big / functional the automaton is: since automatons require a constant supply of energy to function, it may be impractical to bring one along on a journey with you.