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Spanish Muslim polymath, Abbas ibn Firnas, who flew by employing glider in the 9th century AD

Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On May 30, 1912, US inventor and aviator, Wilbur Wright, with his brother Orville, invented the first powered airplane, Flyer, capable of sustained, controlled flight (17 Dec 1903), died at the age of 45 years. Orville made the first flight, airborne for 12 seconds. Wilbur took the second flight, covering 853-ft (260-m) in 59 seconds. By 1905, they had improved the design, built and made several long flights in Flyer III, which was the first fully practical airplane (1905), able to fly up to 38-min and travel 24 miles (39-km).
Their Model A was produced in 1908, capable of flight for over two hours of flight. The history of aviation is as old as Man’s quest to fly since antiquity. The earliest known record are of kite flying from China around 200 BC, when a general flew a kite over enemy territory to calculate the length of tunnel required to enter the region. It is also said, Yuan Huangtou, a Chinese prince, was briefly airborne by tying himself to a kite. In the heyday of Islamic science and civilization, there are records pertaining to the Spanish Muslim polymath, Abbas ibn Firnas, who flew from Jabal al-Arus Hill by employing a rudimentary glider in the 9th century AD.
Some six centuries after Ibn Firnas, the Italian Leonardo da Vinci developed a hang glider design in which the inner parts of the wings are fixed, and some control surfaces are provided towards the tips (as in the gliding flight in birds). In 1783, with the first successful floating of a balloon with a person on board, the aviation industry was born and led to the invention of the airship, the zeppelin and finally the modern aircraft.

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