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12/03/2003: Arcanum

Da Vinci's Flyer Comes to Life
from The Discovery Channel

leonardo (9k image)

A flying machine sketched by Leonardo da Vinci 500 years ago, flew gracefully last week, proving that the Renaissance genius could have made flight history long before the Wright brothers.

Angelo D'Arrigo, a former world champion hang glider, made Leonardo's dreams on manned flight come true as he flew the "Piuma" (feather), a flying machine conceived by the Florentine visionary during his studies on ornithopters - planes with bird-like flapping wings.

Sketched in 1510 in a folio of the Madrid manuscripts that was unearthed by chance in 1996, the Piuma bears an extraordinary resemblance to a modern hang-glider.