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It is no surprise that humanity’s first attempts at flight were in the form of birdlike, human-powered ornithopters. The great artist and engineer Leonardo Da Vinci is often credited as the first to propose a reasonable flying machine in 1490: a giant bat-shaped craft that uses both the pilot’s arms and legs to power the wings. Though the aircraft was never built, and we now know that it would not have flown, it was a remarkable achievement considering the knowledge of the day. At the turn of the 20th century, focus shifted both in the method of thrust production, from flapping wings to the propeller, and the method of power generation, from the human body to the internal combustion engine. With the aerodynamic problem greatly simplified, the impossibility of human flight was disproved by the Wright brother’s flight in 1903 and the stage was set for the boom of aircraft developments in the decades to come. Though work on human-powered aircraft was still carried on from time to time by several groups in various countries, it would be three-quarters of a century before anyone mastered the art of human-powered flight.

This LEGO set is a free interpretation based in the Leonardo's ornithopter. The flapping wings are full functional and are driven by a lever that also drives the pedaling block. The tail design includes a heavy handle avoiding structural flexing when the lever is turned.

Here  you can see a short video of flapping wings:

The set has been also constructed in so you can view the virtual model in 3D:


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