The Codex on the Flight of Birds has been studied over the course of the centuries and it is almost certain that, as a result of the first published (incomplete) edition of the work in 1893, Otto Lilienthal, the first man to fly, and the Wright Brothers were aware of Leonardo's theories.
Compiled between 1505 and 1506, the codex analyses bird flight based on the studies made by Leonardo upon his return to Florence relating to gravity and the science of weights as part of a project for the 'flying machine', initially conceived as a device with flapping wings moved by human muscles, and, subsequently, as a glider using the air currents. During this period, Leonardo's work is characterised by an emphasis on observation related to the concept of natural phenomena as dynamic, complex processes that tie into his studies on wind, motion and anatomy.
In addition to his studies on flight, the manuscript contains notes on mechanics and botany, architectural projects and hydraulic studies for the fountain spurts and water games in the gardens at the country villa of Charles d’Amboise.
We have 4 facsimiles of the manuscript "Codex on the Flight of Birds":
- Il Codice sul volo degli uccelli (English and French Edition) facsimile edition published by Giunti Editore, 1976
- Il Codice sul volo degli uccelli (Italian Edition) facsimile edition published by Giunti Editore, 1976
- Códice sobre el Vuelo de los Pájaros facsimile edition published by Patrimonio Ediciones, 2019
- Codice del Volo degli Uccelli facsimile edition published by Collezione Apocrifa Da Vinci, 2013