Who Was the Italian Artist Who Made the First Study of Flight in the 1480s?

italian-artist-made-first-study-flight-1480s Credit: John Sones Singing Bowl Media/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Leonardo da Vinci was the Italian artist who made the first serious studies of human flight in the 1480s. He made a number of studies of bird flight and tried to come up with a workable design for a flying machine.

One of Da Vinci's designs, the ornithopter, consisted of a plank on which a human could rest while manipulating massive wings resembling those of a bat. He also presented an idea for a helicopter-like vehicle that used a spiral turned manually by four people on a platform to rise into the air. Da Vinci never actually created either of these inventions, but the concepts behind them inspired later inventors who explored human flight. Da Vinci also investigated the physics of glider flight.