Da Vinci’s Ornithopter Finally Takes Flight

Photo: Todd Reichert, University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies

Photo: Todd Reichert, University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies

That Leonardo, he was something, eh? Reuters reports that Todd Reichert a 28-year-old studying engineering at the University of Toronto, has finally realized Da Vinci’s dream of flying like a bird:

Centuries after the Renaissance inventor sketched a human-powered flying machine, Canadian engineering students say they have flown an engineless aircraft that stays aloft by flapping its wings like a bird.

International aviation officials are expected to certify next month that the Snowbird has made the world’s first successful, sustained flight of a human-powered ornithopter, according to the University of Toronto.

The Snowbird sustained both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds, in an August 2 test flight near Toronto that was witnessed by an official of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, the university announced. A video of the flight was shown on news programs on Wednesday.

Others have claimed to have built machines that flew like a bird, but the Canadian group says they have the telemetry data to prove their ornithopter powered itself through the air rather than just glided after being lifted aloft.

“Those past claims were never verified. We believe we are the first, because we know what it took to do it,” chief structural engineer Cameron Robertson, said in an interview from Tottenham, Ontario, north of Toronto, where the Snowbird was displayed on Thursday.

“This represents one of the last of the aviation firsts,” said Todd Reichert, the pilot and project manager, said in a statement…

[continues at Reuters]

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  • 5by5

    Now that’s cool….. :-)

  • 5by5

    Now that’s cool….. :-)

  • Namelesswon

    dude. it was towed by a car before take off. bet davinci didnt design that too.

  • Namelesswon

    dude. it was towed by a car before take off. bet davinci didnt design that too.