From this position, inside the bird's wing motion simulator, we can see many of Leonardo's designs rendered into models. You can move futher into the room by clicking beyond the blue walls. Return to the first room via the arched door beneath the golden sun.

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  This is a small-scale model of a helicopter built according to Leonardo's specifications. A description of his design, accompanied by several, was found in one of his notebooks, dating from around fourteen ninety. The large central screw-like device was to be about thirteen feet in diameter. Leonardo intended it to be made of reed, and covered with taffeta to make a light, resilient wing.

In the middle years of his life, Leonardo devoted a great of attention to studying flight. He designed several different flying devices. You can see a mode of an airplane he designed, called an ornithopter, in the lobby of the museum.

Leonardo intended that his helicopter be powered by four men. They would run around the central shaft, pushing a bar that would cause the spiral to turn. The helicopter would bore its way through the air like a giant corkscrew. But Leonardo didn't realize that the forward action of the men would just push the floor backwards, so that the craft would stand still.


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