Leonardo’s helicopter – model much improved

Posted by jerry on June 7th, 2004 — Posted in History, Journal, Technology

Another quick update on my model of Leonardo’s helicopter – I have made a larger diameter rotor and achieved a couple of flights across the room. The rotor diameter is now about 18cms (about 7.5 inches) and made from cereal box card. The helix winds one and a half times around (one circle plus a half, with the lower circle split along the radius to the centre and the extra half attached with masking tape. There was some sag, which I rectified with a masking tape brace – you will notice that Leonardo’s helicopter design had string braces to support the rotor structure – I guess he had problems with sag too 😉 Anyhow here is a picture of my model (current configuration as flown). The drive is the same spinning-top launcher that I was using before.

Leonardo\'s helicopter - version 2

And Leonardo’s one for comparison:

Image as displayed on the Leonardo Museum in Vinci – they also have a model based on Leonardo’s helicopter, but using fabric rotors the way Leonard’s original envisaged.


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