Leonardo’s Flying Machine at the Weber Library


I am somewhat manic about the fanciful engineering works of Leonardo Da Vinci. Much was made of him being the “father of the helicopter” and “inventor of the airplane” when I was growing up, with scholars triumphantly pointing at his engineering works and proclaiming “See? See? He thought of this centuries before the fact!!”

In truth, almost all of the Da Vinci military engineering sketches truly belong in the fantasy versus reality category. Most of the working models seem to fall apart when scaled upward, a sad reality of physics.

However, this does not mean that his models and sketches weren’t art in themselves– perhaps they were impractical, but I could readily fantasize about a legion of his circular tower tanks advancing upon a fleeing enemy, cannons blazing, or his birdlike glider planes dropping bombs from above. YES, there IS a wargame in there, and I’ve seen it done (as I, Leonardo).

Maybe the Weber Public Library in Ogden, Utah agrees with my point of view. Their History of Flight Section recently commissioned MAYS DESIGNS to construct a full size, working model of one of Da Vinci’s more famous gliders to be constructed as an exhibit. Click on the picture below to go to the project page, it is a beauty of woodwork and design.

Leonardo’s Mystery machines