Fol. 5r

Codex on the Flight of Birds of Leonardo The dream of human flight is delineated in the drawing on the upper right part of the page: a pilot who guides the future flying machine.
It is clear that Leonardo locates the cockpit – a kind of cage – underneath the wings: a tight fit, but not so much that it prevents the pilot from leaning from side to side to either augment or oppose the forces of the air. Learning from birds how to fly: in other drawings Leonardo analyses the trajectories of the flight of the kite.

«l'uomo nel volare deve essere libero dalla cintura in su per potersi bilanciare come fa in barca, in modo che il centro della gravità sua e dello strumento si possano bilanciare e spostarsi dove lo richiede il mutare del centro di resistenza»
(Man, in flying, must be free from the waist up in order to balance himself as he would in a boat, so that his centre of gravity and that of the instrument can balance out or move as required by changes in the centre of resistance.)

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