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Flying has always been a dream of humans, and Leonardo’s fascination with birds and flight was evident in his studies of birds and different human powered flying machines.
His ornithopter design has captured the imagination of people for generations, and we have combined his cool flying machine with one of his bevel gear designs to make a neat working model with flapping wings and a pilot with moving arms and legs.
While it remains a mystery if his ornithopter design was ever fully made or tested at the time, there are many ideas (hanging in museums around the world!) of what it might have looked like, and we have added our ideas as well.
The bridge was designed by Leonardo Da Vinci between 1485 and 1490, to be built rapidly with local trees, that could be easily slid into place, lashed together, and then crossed quickly, making troop movement over rivers speedy, creating a surprise factor that was critical to success in battles. Leonardo applied the laws of statics, which he had developed during his architectural research. In his journals he wrote laws about friction, one of which stated that if the load on an object is doubled, its friction also doubles. Interestingly, when weight is applied down, it gets tighter and stronger, yet when lifted it falls.
One of Leonardo’s most iconic images, the Aerial Screw (also known as the Helicopter) illustrates the ingenuity of da Vinci, and indicates (along with many other drawings!) his obsession with flying.
While this 15th Century (!) idea may never have got off the ground, for some basic technical reasons, it gave us an insight into the different ways in which Leonardo considered the challenge of human powered flying, and defines him as an inventor well ahead of his time.