As long ago as 1500, the great Leonardo da Vinci dreamed
about human flight, deeply studied the matter and designed the first
flying machines a very long time ago. This eclectic genius had become
interested in flight, and pursued an ancient dream of all mankind: flight.
His interest was expressed in an intuitive quest to develop the flying
machines which he conceived, designed and also in part built. Sadly,
his research would be blocked by the limits of his epoch: at that time,
none of the materials necessary to build anything that can effectively
fly were available. In fact, the weight and robustness of the materials
used are determining factors for the efficiency of any aircraft: and
only wood and canvas were available to Leonardo. For these materials,
sufficient robustness means unacceptable weight.
It is the weight of Leonardo's machines that has always
prevented them from flying. His intuitions of future possibilities could
never at that time find empirical confirmation., and so his research
fizzled out. In this at least, the genius was not gratified.
Nowadays, materials which are light yet strong abound. Modern aircraft
are built using kevlar, carbon fibre, dacron, aluminium, ergal and so
on. What is more, we have the technology to test an aircraft's capacity
for flight before it leaves the ground. Thanks to wind tunnels, we are
able to simulate the flight of an aircraft before ever flying it for