Abbas Ibn Firnas

Abbas Ibn Firnas was one great inventor. He was born 810 AD in Korah Takrna near Ronda, and lived in the Emirate of Córdoba. He was an electric thinker with a range of knowledge and interests. He was a Muslim inventor, engineer, physician, pilot, Arabic poet, and musician. He is known for an early attempt at aviation or flying.  Ibn Firnas worked at a vast range of initiatives. He studied in chemistry, physics, and astronomy. He set up astronomical tables, wrote poetry, and designed a water clock called Al-Maqata.

Ibn Firnas was creative in his works. He planned means of manufacturing glass from sand, and he also developed a chain of rings that could be used to show the motions of the planets and stars. He also settled a procedure for cutting rock crystal.

The main invention that Ibn Firnas was known for was the first original version of the parachute. He was the first one to make an attempt at controlled flight. He is known for an early attempt to fly. He operated the flight controls of his hang glider only using two sets of fake wings to adjust and control his altitude and change his direction. He was very successful at his works, as Philip Hitti stated “Ibn Firnas was the first man in history to make a scientific attempt at flying.” He was successful at flying and he easily returned to where he had lifted or started off from, but his landing was unsuccessful. Before he flew he said, “Presently, I shall take leave of you. By guiding these wings up and down, I should ascend like the birds. If all goes well, after soaring for a time I should be able to return safely to your side.”

Since Abbas’s very unsuccessful landing, he damaged his back and was not able to learn from his errors by trying it again and advancing his ideas. His attempt of flying was lost in history until 200 years later when a monk had the idea and tried it. Abbas also brought up todays popular high risk sport of base jumping. Abbas Ibn Firnas sadly died at the age of 77 years old in the year 887 AD. Until today he will always be remembered as the first Arab to create an original version of the parachute.