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Here, in this last quotation, are the first beginnings of the inherent stability which proved so great an advance in design, in this twentieth century. But the extracts given do not begin to exhaust the range of da Vinci’s observations and deductions. With regard to bird flight, he observed that so long as a bird keeps its wings outspread it cannot fall directly to earth, but must glide down at an angle to alight--a small thing, now that the principle of the plane in opposition to the air is Cheap Nike air max, generally grasped, but da Vinci had to find it out. From observation he gathered how a bird checks its own speed by opposing tail and wing surface to the direction of flight, and thus alights at the proper ’landing speed.’ He proved the existence of upward air currents by noting how a bird takes off from level earth with wings outstretched and motionless, and, in order to get an efficient substitute for the natural wing, he recommended that there be used something similar to the membrane of the wing of a bat--from this to the doped fabric of an aeroplane wing is but a small step, for both are equally impervious to air. Again, da Vinci recommended that experiments in flight be conducted at a good height from the ground, since, if equilibrium be lost through any cause, the height gives time to regain it. This recommendation, by the way, received ample support in the training areas of war pilots.

 

Man’s muscles, said da Vinci, are fully sufficient to enable him to fly, for the larger birds, he noted, employ but a small part of their strength in keeping themselves afloat in the air--by this theory he attempted to encourage experiment, just as, when his time came, cheap nike air max 2012,Borelli reached the opposite conclusion and discouraged it. That Borelli was right--so far--and da Vinci wrong, detracts not at all from the repute of the earlier investigator, who had but the resources of his age to support investigations conducted in the spirit of ages after.

 

His chief practical contributions to the science of flight--apart from numerous drawings which have still a value--are the helicopter or lifting screw, and the parachute. The former, as already noted, he made and proved effective in model form, and the principle which he demonstrated is that of the helicopter of to-day, on which sundry experimenters work spasmodically, cheap nike air max 2011in spite of the success of the plane with its driving propeller. As to the parachute, the idea was doubtless inspired by observation of the effect a bird produced by pressure of its wings against the direction of flight.

 

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