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The Landing Gear

Leonardo da Vinci’s Landing Gear

It is not very well known that Leonardo da Vinci invented the worlds first landing gear system for an aircraft. Obviously while he was designing and contemplating his flying machines he realized the simple rule – “what goes up, must come down”.

What he came up with as a way to safely land back on solid earth is quite extraordinary – retractable landing gear.

Take note of the image below, it is taken from a sketch of his regarding the Ornithopter (human powered flying machine). On top you can see the mechanics of how a human could create the flapping motion similar to a birds.

leonardo da vincis landing gear

leonardo da vincis landing gear

But look closely at the bottom, you can make out the retractable landing gear –

leonardo da vinci landing gear close up

leonardo da vinci landing gear close up

Now you can see the mechanics of the landing gear more closely. It shows how the whole mechanism could be allowed to drop under its own weight, or retracted by the simple pull of a string.