Fol. 16v

Codex of Leonardo In the centre of the page, the well-constructed and detailed drawing of a mechanical wing, framed by the text with the technical explanation.
According to Leonardo, the wing of the flying machine must copy the structure of the bird, using mechanisms to reproduce the movement of the opening and closing and the inclination of the wings as they are flapped.

«Io potrei stabilire che il piede che preme la staffa "g" sia lo stesso che, oltre al suo compito ordinario, tiri in basso la leva "f". Ma questo non farebbe al nostro intento, perché noi abbiamo bisogno che la leva "f" si alzi o si abbassi prima che la staffa "g" si sposti dalla sua posizione, in modo che l'ala nel gettarsi in avanti e innalzarsi (per il tempo necessario ad acquistare velocità sufficiente a spingere l'uccello in avanti senza battimento d'ali) possa mettere nell'aria le ali di taglio, perché se così non facesse la faccia delle ali percuoterebbe l'aria in modo da impedire il movimento in avanti dell'uccello»
(I could make it so that the foot that presses on stirrup g is the same that, in addition to its ordinary function, pulls lever f down. But this is not to our purpose, because we need lever f to go up or down before stirrup g moves from its position, so that the wing, in throwing itself forward and raising itself (for the time necessary for it to acquire sufficient velocity to push the bird forward without flapping the wings) can put the wings edgewise in the air, because if it is not done in this way, the face of the wings would strike the air so as to impede the forward movement of the bird.)

NOTE. For each page of Leonardo’s Codex we provide a brief summary, with the quotation of one that page’s most significant passages edited in modern Italian, with an English translation.

translation by Kim Williams