An ornithopter is a type of flying machine that attempts to fly by imitating the flapping of a bird's wings. It was first devised by Leonardo da Vinci in the late 1400s, and many others tried unsuccessfully during the 1800s to fly this type of aircraft.
J. Degan's ornithopter, 1812
Credits - Gary Bradshaw; To Fly Is Everything
Some ornithopters were propelled with oars; others used the arms and legs of the occupants for power. Some ornithopters were to be used with the aid of an inflated balloon. The word comes from the Greek words for bird and wing.