Abbas Ibn Firnas Biography
Born In: Izn-Rand Onda (Ronda), Al-Andalus
Abu al-Qasim Abbas ibn Firnas ibn Wirdas al-Takurini, better known as Abbas Ibn Firnas, was a renowned inventor, engineer, aviator, physician, Arabic poet and Andalusia musician who lived in the Emirates of Cordova (present day Spain) in the 8th century. He is best known for being the first person to successfully demonstrate a controlled flight of a human being, when he jumped off a cliff in his flying machine made out of a bamboo frame covered with silk cloth and bird feathers. He managed to stay aloft for about 10 minutes but had a crash landing due to which he injured his back. However, he learnt from his mistake and wrote a book in which he brought out the necessity of having a tail to stabilise flight. He is also credited with many other inventions that include clear glass used for correcting vision, a water clock and a device to cut rock crystal. His achievements have been recognised by naming a crater on the moon in his honour. The ‘Ibn Firnas Airport’ in Baghdad is named after him, so is a bridge over the Guadalquivir River in Cordova. The world may remember the Wright brothers as the first to make a flying machine, but Abbas Ibn Firnas is the lesser known scientist who first documented the idea in his book and inspired others to research the subject of aeronautics.