da Vinci, eat your heart out.

It seems I’m starting a theme on flight. It gets good at about 1:40

da Vinci's ornithopter design

An Ornithopter is a machine which flies by flapping its wings like a bird, and may stem from that old Greek story about Icarus, the kid who escapes Crete with his dad’s homemade wax-and-feather wings, and then flies too close to the sun and plummets to his death.

A lot of folks have pondered on making an ornithopter, including Leonardo da Vinci; but it was widely believed to be impossible without some kind of help. Today we’ve got toy ornithopters, but all of these have a motor or engine for power, and rarely have a person aboard.

This is the first human-powered ornithopter to achieve sustained flight, with that same human on board. It’s not a human on Mars, or a fusion power plant, but it’s definitely engineering history. The project website, and the place I heard about it.

These folks up in Canada made a really cool man-powered bird, and it looks very graceful as it flies. But it wasn’t without its setbacks. Success is nothing but a string of failures, etc.


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