Flying machine with beating wings

Flying machine with beating wings

Inv. 9088
Interpretation by Alberto Mario Soldatini e Vittorio Somenzi, 1953

"I determine that standing upright is more useful than going face downward, because the instrument can never turn upside down, and besides, habituation from long use will require such. And the rising and lowering motion will come from the rising and lowering of the two legs, and this is of great power, and the hands will remain free. And if you had to go face downward, the joints where the legs meet the thights would endure great effort in holding themselves up"

The model represents a study of a flying machine with beating wings actuated by muscular force. It is constituted of a vertical cage structure on which two wing structures are mounted, connected in turn to a double system of pulleys actuated by two foot brackets. In this study, one of the last dedicated by Leonardo to “instrumental”, or mechanical, flight, the beating of the wings is caused by the pilot, who would have donned the cage structure, slipping his feet into the two foot brackets and thus actuating the pulleys. Leonardo now considers the vertical position to be more secure for the pilot, abandoning the idea of the prone position described in previous studies.

The model is based on the drawing:

  • Codex Atlanticus f. 749 r. (1495)
    Milano, Biblioteca Ambrosiana