Leonardo da Vinci and Flight


“Among the many subjects Leonardo studied, the possibility of human mechanical flight held particular fascination.  He produced more than 35,000 words and 500 sketches dealing with flying machines, the nature of air, and bird flight.  These investigations of flight are scattered throughout the many da Vinci codices and manuscript collections, but he did produce one short codex almost entirely on the subject in 1505-1506, the Codice sul volo degli uccelli (Codex on the Flight of Birds).

Leonardo’s interest in flight appears to have stemmed from his extensive work on military technology which he performed in the employ of the Milanese court.  He filled many notebooks with countless sketches of weapons, military machines, and fortifications.  They included a giant crossbow, a tank, and a submarine, to name just a few.  However, as far as it is known, none of these inventions were ever built.  Leonardo’s focus on military technology and tactics lead him to the idea of aerial reconnaissance.  Once engaged with the notion of a flying machine, it became an obsession.”


Leonardo da Vinci and Flight. Homepage. (n.d.). https://airandspace.si.edu/stories/editorial/leonardo-da-vinci-and-flight


Humans have been dreaming of flight for a long time, so it follows that there are many moments of inspiration to investigate flight that designs could be based on. Leonardo Da Vinci is well known for his interest in flight, so somewhere he had a moment of inspiration that could be a design. If not that, many people have been inspired from him, so this could be a good place to look for another example of that spark of inspiration that I want to chase from the Wright Brothers puddle hopper toy.