While sensing the difficulties involved in accomplishing the great dream of flying with man-powered machines, Leonardo starts to study gliding flight. In the glider designed by him, the flier's position is conceived in such a way as to allow him to balance himself by adequately moving the lower part of his body. The wings, an imitation of the wings of bats and of large birds, are fixed in their innermost section (closest to the person) and mobile in their outer section. The latter could be flexed by means of a control cable maneuvered by the flier. Leonardo had developed this solution after having studied the structure of birds' wings and having observed that the inner part of their wings moved more slowly than the outer part and that, therefore, the function of this part was to sustain rather than to push forward.
The model is based on the drawing:
- Codex Atlanticus f. 846 v. (1495-1496)
Milano, Biblioteca Ambrosiana