“I have always felt it is my destiny to build a machine that would allow man to fly.”
-- Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci was a polymath, but his favorite field of study was likely aviation, and he felt himself destined to build a machine that would allow man to fly. It was a lofty ambition for the 15th century, and yet Leonardo's research process was firmly grounded. He started by simply observing the inventions of nature—the wings of bats, the shoulder joints of birds, etc.—then drew them on paper with the perceptive power of a portrait painter. Fusing his knowledge of anatomy with his skill at engineering and construction, he then theorized how the bodies of animals might be recreated by the hand of man. Part by part he progressed, until he created a flying machine prototype that prefigured nearly all forms of modern air transport—four centuries before they became a reality. Our name pays quiet tribute to Leonardo. The grand scale of his ambitions, the hands-on modesty of his methods, the interconnecting of ideas from different disciplines, and most of all, the thirst to understand things at their most fundamental level.