Leonardo Da Vinci's Flying Machines

Essay by i8cookiemonstrJunior High, 9th gradeA+, May 2007

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Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius who went far beyond simply being a remarkable artist. During the High Renaissance period of late 15th century Italy, Leonardo was interested in the study of flight and had many theories about how to make flying machines. He is assumed to be the first man who studied flight, and if it wasn't for him Orville and Wilbur Wright most likely wouldn't have constructed the first airplane. He was extremely fascinated in this area of science. Leonardo designed a massive amount of mechanical flying devices, including parachutes, and studied the flight of birds as well as their structure.

Da Vinci studied the possibility of human flight for much of his life. What might have caused his obsession with flight was one of his childhood dreams. Leonardo recorded a dream he had in which he was a baby and a bird flew down, opened his mouth with its tail, and struck him several times.

This dream supposedly inspired Leonardo’s life long dream of flying.

Da Vinci looked to birds and bats for his models of flight. He admired the birds because of the force they were able to exploit with their wings during flight. Since Da Vinci admired birds and bats so much, he called his flying machines uccellos (birds). In the Codex Atlanticus Leonardo wrote “The bird is an instrument working according to mathematical law, which instrument it is within the capacity of man to reproduce with all its movements.” He believed that man could create a machine using the natural ideology of flight. A machine like this would allow a person to imitate the flight of a bird and enable them to fly.

There’s no proof that Leonardo ever build a real model of his designs, his designs stayed inside of his notebooks. He...