Structure for a wing with variable inclination

Structure for a wing with variable inclination

Inv. 9097
Interpretation by Alberto Mario Soldatini e Vittorio Somenzi, 1952 - 1953

"And I remind you that before you move your heel and hands, you must first lower the tips of your feet, which is what draws and slackens the aforesaid cords. And it is necessary to do this in order that the instrument always goes forward edge-on, as I said, and that all the motion of returning backward be made face-on. And I remind you again that the motions of the hands and feet must be made at the same time."

In this detailed study, Leonardo attempts to reproduce mechanically the articulations of the wings of a bird during the various phases of flight. The model is constituted of a wing structure divided into two sectors connected to pulleys by means of cords. The cords and pulleys, in turn, are inserted into a vertical support moved by a foot bracket. The beating of the wing is caused by simultaneously actuating with the foot the stirrup inserted between the two main cables and with the hand the upper handle. The pair of pulleys and their related braces cause the movement and articulation of the wing, which is oriented face-on to the air when lowering and edge-on when rising, thus eliminating unnecessary resistance.

The model is based on the drawing:

  • Codex Atlanticus f. 934 r. (1495-1496)
    Milano, Biblioteca Ambrosiana