Fol. 8v

The flight of Leonardo In this page as well Leonardo draws birds, but he also considers human flight. At the centre of his reflections is the risk of the flying machine’s overturning and the use of the tail to guide it. Leonardo observes the behaviour of birds when they find themselves beneath and above the wind, and how they avoid being flipped over by the force of the air.

«Quando l'uccello sta sopra il vento con il becco e il busto al vento allora potrebbe essere rovesciato dal vento ma se abbassa la coda e vi riceve una gran quantità di vento così facendo diventa impossibile che sia rovesciato»
(If the bird is above the wind with the beak and the body to the wind, then it could be overturned by the wind, but if it lowers the tail and receives a great quantity of wind, this would make it impossible for it to overturn.)

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