Fly Away

Agusta A109 Power
Agusta A109 Power

The Dog and I think that this is probably an Agusta A109 Power. As a general rule we like helicopters. It’s not just that, historically speaking, we are air force, mostly it is just that, unlike other aircraft whose approach can only be detected by the howl of their departure, helicopters are usually in our field of vision long enough for us to switch the camera on and point it in the general direction required.

Leonardo da Vinci, whose name must always be mentioned in any discussion of helicopters, was a prolific diarist. He jotted down things as they came into his head, in case they might be useful later. He doodled a sort of flying thingy that was unusual for the time – and for Leonardo da Vinci. It tried to use the principal that the corkscrew used to push through cork, to rise through the air, rather than a flapping sort of thing trying to imitate bird flight.

You can almost follow his train of thought. He had just spent a great deal of time studying precisely how birds managed to fly and was racking his brain for a way to reproduce that complex wing motion mechanically – so that he could produce a flappy sort of flying machine. “There has to be an easier way” he mutters in Italian. And then he came up with the screw idea.

Ah. Yes! Genius at work.

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