Human-Powered Plane Flies Like A Bird
"For the past four years, Todd Reichert, an engineering student at the University of Toronto, has been working to perfect one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s greatest concepts – an ornithopter.
An ornithopter is a human-powered aircraft that flies by flapping its wings, and with the help of 30 other students, as well as $200,000, Reichert made history by building such a vehicle and piloting a sustained flight.
Called the Snowbird, the aircraft is made of carbon fiber, foam and balsa wood, and weighs less than 93 pounds. Its wingspan is 104 feet, which is comparable to that of a Boeing 737. The vehicle works by pumping a set of pedals attached to pulleys and lines that bring down the wings in an elegant flapping motion.
Leonardo Da Vinci conceived the ornithopter back in 1485. For much of his life, Da Vinci was fascinated by the phenomenon of flight and produced many sketches of flying machines; however, he never actually made one."