1519 c/o Greg Santos

The First Birdbrain

While munching on an apple and daydreaming of hydraulic pumps, Leonardo witnessed a falcon divebombing a smaller bird and instantly became obsessed with flying.

Soon after, a servant brought Leonardo a steaming bowl of chicken broth and walked into the workshop without knocking. Leonardo darted out the door like a freshly decapitated chicken.

Leonardo spent countless hours whittling little bird figurines and tossing them over his balcony. “Caw caw caw!” he’d often say to bewildered friends and family.

On that fateful winter day in January, he strapped his goggles on and adjusted the leather straps around his shoulders.

“Squawk,” he said closing his eyes, stepping of the cliff, and swooping into history; unsuccessfully testing the world’s first flying machine.