Aero Magazine International

BIRDS AND THE FLIGHT

“To study the anatomy of bird wings together with the pectoral muscles, which move them”, recorded Leonardo on his notebook. “To do the same with man, to demonstrate the possibility of him being able to sustain himself on the air by beating wings”.

ECCENTRIC THEATRICAL FLIGHTS

During more than two decades, starting around 1490, in Milan, Leonardo has researched, with a rare degree of intelligence, the flight of birds and the possibility of creating machines allowing humans to fly. He produced over five hundred drawings and 35,000 words distributed in a dozen of notebooks about these matters. The undertaking combined his curiosity about nature, his observation skills and his engineering instincts. It was also one more example of his method of using analogies to discover nature patterns. However, in this case, the use of analogies has gone even longer: It has made him get closer, more than all the other researches, to the pure theory universe, including fluid dynamics and laws of movement.

Leonardo’s interest for flying machines began with the work on theatrical shows. From the first days of Verrocchio’s studio until the last in France, Leonardo was with great excitement dedicated to this type of show. His mechanical birds were used for the first and last time, as entertainments for the court, as well as the winged dragons and other imaginary flying creatures devised by him for the delight and terror of his audiences

It was in shows like those that Leonardo saw for the first time ingenious devices that made actors going up and down and floating as if they were flying. Brunelleschi, his predecessor as artist-engineer in Florence, was the

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Aero Magazine International

Aero Magazine International7 min read
1961 - 1970
In the hottest years of Cold War, some American and Soviet bombers permanently remained alert in the air, already loaded with atomic weapons, to response to a surprise attack. In January 1961, an American B-52 suffered a structural failure and disint
Aero Magazine International7 min read
1991-2000
“If you want to know how much it costs, you don’t have money to have one”. The phrase is old and applies to many things, among jets high operating costs. In the early 1990, Pilatus Aircraft, a Swiss company was in search of a way of increasing the qu
Aero Magazine International5 min read
Cutting The Engines
The Japanese company All Nippon Airways (ANA) officially has become the last operator of Airbus giant four-engine aircraft, the A380, which will be discontinued from 2021. ANA received its first A380, out of three, in a special ceremony in Toulouse,