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abbas ibn firnas

Abbas ibn Firnas, the first aviator

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Abbas ibn Firnas – the first aviator

Do you know that the relationship between wings and a tail to stabilise flight first developed by Abbas Ibn Firnas which contributed to the success of the Wright brothers’ flying machine in 1903?

Full name of Abbas ibn Firnas is Abu al-Qasim Abbas ibn Firnas ibn Wirdas al-Takurini .

Abbas ibn Firnas was a Berber Andalusian polymath: an inventor, astronomer, physician, chemist, engineer, Andalusi musician, and Arabic-language poet.

abbas ibn firnas

Achievements of Abbas ibn Firnas

Abbas ibn Firnas is best known for being the world’s first pilot. Abbas ibn Firnas created the first glider, which inspired other inventors, the Wright brothers, to build the first aeroplane. This was built on the many years of research that Abbas ibn Firnas had documented in a book. His achievement was recognised in 1979, by the Working Group for Planetary Systems Nomenclature (IAU / WGPSN) when they named a crater, ‘Ibn Firnas’, on the moon in his honour.

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One day, ibn Firnas watched the first parachute test jump, and studied the nature of flight for the next 23 years. This eventually led up to him at age 70 building a pair of wings made of silk, wood and feathers. He jumped off a cliff and glided in the air for 10 minutes, proving his work to be a success.

Abbas ibn Firnas devised a means of manufacturing colorless glass, invented various glass planispheres, made corrective lenses (“reading stones”), devised a chain of things that could be used to simulate the motions of the planets and stars, and developed a process for cutting rock crystal that allowed Spain to cease exporting quartz to Egypt to be cut.

Abbas ibn Firnas lived to the age of 77, and while his light injury had stopped him from being physically active, his mind still raced to invent new things and better his current inventions.

abbas ibn firnas
Statue of Ibn Firnas outside Baghdad International Airport

Abbas ibn Firnas devoted his entire life to science and wrote many books on mathematics, physics, astronomy and engineering that were taught in the University of Al-Andalusia. His book describing his first flight and the lessons learnt went on to inspire many more who endeavoured to fly, including Leonardo Da Vinci.

He even became one of the first teachers at the famous Cordovan school of music run by the Iraqi musician, Ziryab.

Also read :  5 Facts about Abu Zayd al Balkhi, the Muslim psychologist who was the first to diagnose mental illness.

Ref : Wiki

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