Leonardo da Vinci's Flying Machines

Leonardo da Vinci's Flying Machines
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.91

     challenging words:    spiral-shaped, standing, aerial, planes, tremendous, aircraft, lighter, glider, market, power, capable, jumper, action, invention, operate, helicopter

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Leonardo da Vinci's Flying Machines
By Sharon Fabian

1     Hundreds of years before the invention of the first working airplane, Leonardo da Vinci drew sketches of airplanes, gliders, helicopters, and even a parachute.
2     It's no wonder that flying machines were a favorite of Leonardo's. He had been interested in birds since an early age. As an adult, he would buy caged birds at the market and then let the birds fly free.
3     He also watched birds closely, trying to figure out just how they flew. He drew sketches of ideas for machines that might one day allow people to fly. Drawing sketches of new ideas was something Leonardo must have enjoyed too. He filled thick notebooks full of these ideas.
4     One of his ideas was for an ornithopter. An ornithopter was a machine that would allow a man to fly like a bird. It consisted of two large wings attached to a center board where the pilot would lie face-down to operate the machine. The wings were modeled after the wings of a large bird. A system of pulleys and rods operated by the pilot's feet would flap the wings.

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