Canadian Inventor Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Original Ornithopter Concept Speaks at the Royal Ontario Museum April 15th 6pm on the Occasion of Da Vinci's Birthday and the Launch of Creativity Week in Canada

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The first thing to be thought of in flight, and the last thing to still be done; is flapping winged flight! Professor DeLaurier has found an opportunity where this technology can be advanced in an expeditious and awe inspiring manner. In one year we envision showcasing this technology at the 2006 Olympics in Turin Italy. We believe this is an unprecedented public relations opportunity, at the same time a celebration of the extraordinary human spirit that drives such projects. Test Flight this May.

Over 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci conceptualized a self-powered flying machine that would achieve both lift and thrust with flapping wings alone and named it the “ornithopter”. Since ancient times, mankind has envisioned themselves in flight, much like a bird. However, until now, most attempts to fly by flapping wings, either using human muscle or mechanical power have failed.

Hot on the heels of the 100th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers flight, and the recent X prize won by Burt Rutan for civilian, privately funded space flight, a team of scientists, engineers, and historians in Toronto have taken on this challenge to make Leonardo’s dream a reality.

Currently in development under the purview of Professor James DeLaurier at the University of Toronto’s Institute for Aerospace Studies - there will be a special previewing for a select group of dignitaries and media of the Ornithopter prototype prior to its historical manned test flight at the Downsview airport on May 15th. As a child of an Italian mother, DeLaurier recalls “there was a Leonardo da Vinci book in our home, and I fell in love with the pictures and fantasized about taking flight one day in a self-propelled flying machine.” It was whilst working as a research engineer in the early 1970’s, at Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio that he met Jeremy Harris, who also had a penchant for ornithopters. The two developed the ornithopter as a hobby but soon it became an avocation for DeLaurier, when he later joined the faculty of the University of Toronto he began serious flight tests on engine-powered models. This led to the development of a full-scale aircraft that is recognized by the FAI (Fédération Aéronautique International) as the first successful engine-powered piloted ornithopter.

The expediency of the ornithopter model as it approaches efficiency will outperform fixed wing aircraft, and will be seen as the natural evolution in flight technology. Flapping flight as a practical means of personal flight may well be developed into an extreme sport that may one day see itself even lauded at a future Olympic Games.

“The first thing thought of in flight and the last thing left to be done is bird like flapping wing flight. Showcasing this spectacular technology developed by Jim at the 2006 Turin Olympics in Italy, would inspire a new generation of flight enthusiasts and lead to a multitude of advancements in science” says Adam Kushabi of Volo Libero. Adam's team is currently working with the Italian Trade Commission and other fundraisers with the hope of showcasing Leonardo's dream at the 2006 games, five hundred years after he first envisioned this amazing new technology. Once the prototype has flown, and some five million additional dollars raised, the group plans to build an entirely new thoroughly flight tested machine specifically for the Olympic Games in February 2006. This very well could be an unprecedented public relations opportunity with the perfect backdrop for any sponsor who may want their name associated with this historical event.

An homage to Italy’s national hero, Leonardo Da Vinci and the extraordinary human spirit. Da Vinci’s “Ornithopter” design for humans to rise from the earth, with the beat of wings, mimicking the motion of birds is no longer an antediluvian thought but a reality to behold.

For further information please contact

Val Dooley - Publicist

Volo Libero Inc.

T: 416-488-9649    

F: 416-488-8173

The Project Ornithopter – Five Hundred Years in the Making


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Val Dooley
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