SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sketch made by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) for a design of an ornithopter, that is, a flying-machine powered by a man who would provide the motive force. By pushing and pulling various levers the wings would be mechanically flapped up and down and back and forth, to simultaneously provide lift and propulsion. From 1485 Leonardo studied the flight of birds and this sketch, dating from 1486-90, is one of more than 500 sketches concerning flight contained in his notebooks. Though there is no evidence that he ever constructed or flew an ornithopter, this is considered to be the first serious design of a flying-machine.
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