Mac & Mike's Pick: Flapping Wing Flyer

By WEEK Reporter

September 27, 2010 Updated Sep 27, 2010 at 10:25 PM CDT

Leonardo Da Vinci designed an ornathopter --a flapping wing flyer --back in 1485.

It didn't work; but that hasn't kept people from trying to realize DaVinci's dream of lying like a bird. At the University of Toronto, they might just have succeeded.

See the video--and decide for yourself.

The University's "snowbird" is as wide as a Boeing 737 - but ionly weighs
93 pounds.

Powered by one determined human on pedals, it was pulled into the air by a tow-truck and then apparently flapped it's way into the record books.

Total flight: ninteen-point-three seconds, Total distance: 475 feet, average speed: less than 16 miles an hour.

All of this took place in August and mostly in secret.

The videotape of the flight was just released late last week as researchers filed their official record claim.

The world governing body for air sports and records, is expected to confirm the ornithopter's record at its meeting in October.

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