Leonardo da Vinci Parachute (Model)

The idea and first sketch of a parachute dates to the 15th century, to the innovative thinker, artist, scientist, and engineer, Leonardo da Vinci. Sketched during the Renaissance Period, da Vinci’s notebook entry is part of the Codex Atlanticus, a 12-volume set of his drawings and musings now stored at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana library in Milan, Italy. Da Vinci’s design shows a free-hanging man grasping the bunched end of four long, wooden poles spread out at the top to hold open a linen cloth in a pyramid shape.

Did you know?

The writing next to the sketch, translated into English,  reads, “If a man has a structure made out of coated cloth 12 arms wide and 12 tall, he will be able to throw himself from any great height without hurting himself.”

Ahead of his time, da Vinci conceived the idea of a parachute, but not until 1783 did Louis-Sebastien Lenormand invent the first one -- an umbrella-type parachute to help someone escape a burning building.

On June 26, 2000, over 500 years after da Vinci’s sketch, Adrian Nicholas from the United Kingdom  built a parachute to da Vinci’s specifications and tested it on himself. It worked.

About this curious invention

Hanging high over the children’s play area is a model of Leonardo da Vinci’s Parachute, built to his written specifications over 500 years ago. This exquisite model demonstrates the importance of curiosity and ingenuity throughout the history of aviation.
Leonardo da Vinci
Portrait of da Vinci by Lattanzio Querena
Da Vinci's Parachute Sketch
Leonardo da Vinci's Parachute Sketch, 1485