Leonardo da Vinci's Aerial Screw


This is an image of Leonardo da Vinci's aerial screw drawing found in Manuscript B, Folio 83v. Because this image is a full picture of da Vinci's notebook page, his notes about the aerial screw are also visable. This drawing was created by da Vinci in the late 1400s, but he never attempted to create a model of his drawing to test its functionality. The design of this device is thought to be based off of the rotation of maple seeds as they fall to the ground and off of Archimedes' screw created in 200 BC. The device is meant to be powered by four men who push the four wooden shafts in a circular motion. Da Vinci believed this would generate enough force to lift the aerial screw in the air. We now know that this design would not be able to achieve flight because the intended materials (reed, linen, and wire) would make the device too heavy. The basic principles of lift used by the aerial screw remain relevent today because they provide the foundation for how modern helicopters fly.

This image is the work of Luc Viatour (https://Lucnix.be).  The image is licensed under the Creative Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons) Attribution- Share Alike 2.5 Generic (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/deed.en), 2.0 Generic (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en), and 1.0 Generic (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en) license. No changes were made to this image.

The original notebook page from Leonardo da Vinci is in the public domain (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Copyright_tags#United_States) because it has been more than 100 years since da Vinci's death. 

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Timeline of Events Associated with Leonardo da Vinci's Aerial Screw


  • Luc Viatour

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