The Aerial Screw – Leonardo da Vinci

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Varenummer Rev-00500 Kategorier ,


This study of a flying machine with a rotating wing is an isolated case among Leonardo’s immense corpus on flight, which generally referred to studies for a machine with beating wings. Leonardo writes in the note accompanying the drawing, if the screw is turned rapidly, it will penetrate the air, and it will mount aloft””. We can consider this study as the first idea of a propeller for a flying machine.

The model is constructed on a circular base with a mobile ring, which in turn is connected to a vertical transmission shaft. A helicoid structure tapering upward is mounted on the shaft, connected by braces to the rotating ring of the base. Leonardo conceived a structure inspired by the helicoid forms found in nature, as in the case of maple seeds, which can fly to great distances rotating about themselves. In the notes accompanying the drawing, he specifies the measures for the base (8 Florentine braccia, about 5 m) and the materials: wood, cord, and starched linen canvas. The interpretation for this model considers four men moving the shaft for turning the screw very quickly, but in fact Leonardo was probably thinking to a mechanism actuated by a spring or a cord in a small-scale paper prototype.

Model details:

230 mm

210 mm


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