Abu al-Qasim (Abu al-Qasim) Abbas ibn Firnas ibn Wirdas al-Takurini, also known as Abbas Ibn Firnas, was an inventor, engineer, aviator, physician, Arabic poet, and Andalusia musician who lived in the 8th century in the Emirates of Cordova (modern-day Spain). When he jumped down a cliff in his flying contraption built out of a bamboo frame covered in silk cloth and bird feathers, he became the first person to successfully demonstrate controlled human flight. He managed to hover aloft for almost ten minutes before crashing to the ground and injuring his back. He did, however, learn from his error and wrote a book in which he emphasized the importance of having a tail to stabilize flying. He is also credited with a number of additional innovations, including clear glass for vision correction, a water clock, and a rock crystal cutting equipment. His accomplishments have been recognized by the naming of a crater on the moon after him. In Baghdad, the ‘Ibn Firnas Airport’ is named after him, as is a bridge in Cordova that spans the Guadalquivir River. Although the Wright brothers are widely credited as being the first to build a flying machine, Abbas Ibn Firnas is the lesser-known scientist who first recorded the concept in his book and spurred others to pursue aeronautics research.
Childhood and Adolescence
Abbas Ibn Firnas was born in In-Rand Onda in the Al-Andalusia Caliphate of Cordova in the year 810. This is in today’s Ronda, Spain, which was once a predominantly Muslim territory. His name is derived from the term ‘Afernas,’ which is a common name in modern-day Morocco and Algeria.
Al-Andalusia was a significant center of learning for engineers, architects, and scientists throughout his time. Cordova and Baghdad were Islamic art and science’s twin cultural centers.
Abbas studied medicine and astrology as a young man, but he was more interested in engineering and inventing his own devices. He also enjoyed classical music from Andalusia and Arabic poetry.
He was a curious child who enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back together. He was skilled with his hands and enjoyed listening to music. He was always excited to see what was going on in his area.
Abbas Ibn Firnas resided in the Cordova Emirates, which included parts of what is now Gibraltar (UK), Morocco, Portugal, and Spain. He became a polymath, having worked as an inventor, engineer, pilot, physician, Arabic poet, and Andalusia musician.
Armen Firman, who attempted to fly by jumping off the minaret of the big mosque in Qurtuba in 852 while wearing a device made of a wooden frame and silk, motivated. The device slowed his fall, and Armen escaped with just minor injuries from what is thought to be the world’s first parachute attempt.
Firnas witnessed the jump and went on to do a scientific investigation on Armen’s flight path’s flaws. He built his own flying machine out of a bamboo frame covered in silk cloth with actual eagle feathers stitched to it twenty-three years later, in 875.
His invention had a harness that allowed him to be suspended in mid-air while controlling the movement of the wings. This was an advance over Firman’s fixed-winged device.
Firnas took a long time to finish his avionics studies and be satisfied with the machine’s reliability. Finally, at the age of 70, he decided to showcase his innovation by jumping over a precipice in the Jabal Al-‘Arus highlands.
He assembled a crowd to watch the event and promised that if his invention was successful, he would live to tell them about it. According to witnesses, he flew for over 10 minutes by flapping his wings up and down. Unfortunately, he had not practiced his landing and landed hard, causing major injuries to his back.
After his flight, he survived another 12 years and resumed his avionics studies. Despite the fact that he did not attempt to fly again, he analyzed the flaws in his landing and came to the opinion that, in addition to wings, a tail is required to regulate flight.
Abbas studied astronomy and created a motorized planetarium with spinning planets that moved in connection to each other like they do in the universe, in addition to his endeavor to fly.
He also experimented with crystal, quartz, and sand to develop a high-quality translucent glass that was used to make the famous Andalusian drinking glasses. He went on to study the magnifying capabilities of glass and create corrective glasses.
He is also credited with designing the Al-Maqata water clock for maintaining time. His other accomplishment was inventing a method of cutting rock crystals that were previously only known in Egypt.
Abbas Ibn Firnas devoted his entire life to science and wrote numerous publications on mathematics, physics, astronomy, and engineering that were taught at Al-Andalusia University. His book on his first flight and the lessons he learned inspired many others, including Leonardo Da Vinci, to try flying.
Abbas’s Major Projects
Abbas Ibn Firnas was an Andalusia musician, inventor, engineer, aviator, physician, and Arabic poet. The water clock, clear glass, and a mechanism to cut rock crystals are among his creations.
His most famous effort, however, was his first attempt to fly and the avionics book he published, which inspired others.
Abbas’s major Achievements
Many years before the Wright brothers, Firnas achieved the first known controlled human flight. In 1979, the International Astronomical Union’s Working Group for Planetary Systems Nomenclature (IAU / WGPSN) honored him by naming a crater on the moon after him, ‘Ibn Firnas.’
The ‘Ibn Firnas Airport’ in Baghdad, as well as a bridge over the Guadalquivir River near Cordova, are both named after Abbas Ibn Firnas. Libya has even published a postage stamp in his honor.
Personal History and Legacy
Ziryab, an Iraqi musician, was a big fan of Abbas Ibn Firnas. In his spare time, he studied Andalusian classical music and read Arabic poetry. He lived to be eighty-seven years old when he died in the year 887.
Some claim that after his injuries on his maiden flight, his life slowed down. His mind, on the other hand, remained active, and he shifted his focus from doing physical activities to writing down his thoughts.
Because his biography was not recorded at the time, little is known about his family life.
Estimated Net worth
Abbas Ibn Firnas’ development of the link between wings and a tail to stabilize flight contributed to the success of the Wright brothers’ flying machine in 1903.
Firnas was a man of many talents. He was even one of the original teachers at the renowned Cordovan music school founded by Iraqi musician Ziryab.