Archytas of Tarentum (428–347 BC) was a Greek mathematician, political leader and philosopher, Archytas is sometimes called the father of mathematical mechanics.
While the flight of Daedalus and Icarus was probably mythical (opinion is divided), the feat of Archytas by contrast was truly revolutionary: in 425 BC he constructed the first flying machine in history. His "pigeon" (as he called it) was powered by a system of jet propulsion, and in one experiment it flew a distance of 200 metres. Once it fell to the ground, however, this machine could not take off again. Evanghelos Stamatis thinks it must have been some sort of jet-propelled craft driven by a compressed air system.
This, then, was an early application of aerodynamics, that is, the harnessing of the force of compressed air; and it is not a legend: Archytas' experiment is attested in literature and is a matter of fact. The inventor of the "pigeon" was an exceptional mathematician and engineer, an avid builder of mechanical constructions, and is held to be the inventor of the screw, the pulley and a child's rattle. He is also credited with an amazing account of a journey around the world in a hermetically sealed sphere! Archytas' "pigeon", which is chronicled by Favorinus and by Aulus Gellius (in his Attic Nights), represents the realisation of the Hellenic passion for flight. The world's first model aeroplane flew- if only for a short distance - in Greece in 425 BC.