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How Leonardo Da Vinci Tried To Fly


How Leonardo Da Vinci Tried To Fly
Few individuals truly fit the much over used sobriquet of ‘man ahead of his time’, but Leonardo da Vinci is one of the select band who undoubtedly fits into this category. His mind seemed to be of another time entirely, devising all sorts of inventions and machines that would either pre-empt or form the basis for modern-day equivalents.

The item that perhaps best of all encapsulates his capacity to work beyond the constraints of his time, however, is his visionary or nithopter flying machine.
Having spent much time watching and studying the flight of birds, he observed the different ways they flapped their wings while taking off and in mid-flight, and sought to mimic them in the construction of his or nithopter. Sharing similarities with the paragliders of today, it required a solo pilot to manually operate a system of pullies, levers and pedals with his hands and feet in order to simulate flight. A hand crank increased the production of energy and the wings were designed to flap – much like those of a bird.
However, while it looked impressive on the page, da Vinci’s or nithopter was never physically realised in his day. While it may well have worked while in flight, the task of actually taking off proved to be an insurmountable obstacle, as there wasn’t a known way of producing enough power to actually get it off the ground.

Da Vinci’s other flying machines
Da Vinci didn’t limit his pursuit of flight to just his ornithopter. Predating its invention by over 400 years, one of his designs reveals something akin to a modern-day helicopter. Also known as an aerial screw, its blades revolved like a corkscrew, compressing air in order to gain flight – a principle shared by its eventual successors.
Although the theory was sound, modern-day scientists believe that it would have been too heavy to achieve flight, and as such remained strictly in the drawing book. He is also credited with devising early designs for what would become what we know as the parachute. Despite its triangular shape and wooden frame causing many to doubt its effectiveness, it a prototype based on the same design was constructed and tested in 2000 – where it was proven to work perfectly.

How Leonardo Da Vinci Tried To Fly