Leonardo Da Vinci Helicopter
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2 in store at Leeds
2 in store at Sheffield
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One of Leonardo's most iconic images, the Aerial Screw (also known as the Helicopter) illustrates the ingenuity of da Vinci, and indicates (along with many other drawings!) his obsession with flying. While this idea may never have got off the ground, for some basic technical reasons, it gave us an insight into the different ways in which Leonardo considered the challenge of human powered flying, and defines him as an inventor well ahead of his time.
While it is often referred to as a helicopter, the premise of the lift to make it rise is more like archimedes screw than the rotors of a helicopter. This model uses one of the bevel gears he drew in his codices and creates a nice 2 to 1 increase in speed of the crankshaft, so the mast spins quickly, illustrating the manner in which this machine would have worked.