Hezarfen the First Flying Person

Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi was born in 1609 in Ottoman Empire. He lived in Murat IV period, which marked the 17th century in Ottoman history. He is still quite renowned for his scientific works as well as his flight from Galata Tower to Üsküdar with his artificial wings. In order to realize the dream of his childhood, he studied relentlessly and experimented with projects that ultimately helped him to reach his goal. Hezarfen was labeled “With Thousand Sciences” because he was not only interested in flight but also engaged in different scientific fields.

Life of Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi

Born in 1609, Hazerfen Ahmet Çelebi died in 1640 in Algeria. Especially in his childhood, Hazerfen Ahmet was flying in his dreams. His childhood dream of flying intensified over time. He started to observe birds in flight and made drawings of them. He then realized that he could achieve his dream with his scientific works.

Hezarfen the First Flying Person
Istanbul Panoramic Illustration with Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi.

Scientific Studies of Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi

Hazerfen Ahmet Çelebi decided he needed to have a robust aerodynamic structure like birds in order to fly. He began to make a literature review on the subject and examined the works of İsmail Cevheri, one of the Turkish scholars. In the 10th century, Ismail Cevheri judged that people could fly, but the experience he initiated was not a success.

Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi thoroughly examined the wing structure of birds and identified the deficiencies in the works of İsmail Cevheri. He invented artificial wings which he called eagle wings. According to some sources, in the invention of these artificial wings, Hezarfen was inspired by the designs of Leonardo Da Vinci. However, it has been found by scientists that the artificial wings made by Hezarfen were different from Leonardo Da Vinci’s and were more robust in terms of aerodynamics.

Hezarfen the First Flying Person
A restaurant staff is just cleaning the rooftop of the restaurant and The Galata Tower at background.

First Flight of Hazerfan Ahmet Çelebi

The first flight of Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi was one of the most interesting moments in history and took place in 1632. Hezarfen, who completed all the works related to the artificial wings and decided that he could fly as a result of the drawings, climbed to Galata Tower, the highest tower of Istanbul at that period. People heard that Hazerfan Ahmet Çelebi was climbing to the Galata Tower to fly with the artificial wings, and they began to gather curiously around the tower. Within a few hours, the whole population of Galata was watching Hezarfen with curiosity from the street where the tower is located.

Hazerfen Ahmet Çelebi’s plan for his first flight attempt was to launch from the Galata Tower, catch momentum, and land at the Üsküdar Doğancılar Square from the Bosphorus. At noon, when Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi captured the wind, he threw himself into the air and completed the first flight in the history of the world from Galata Tower to Üsküdar Doğancılar Square. The flight, which was welcomed with the intense enthusiasm of the people, lasted 3558 meters.

Hezarfen the First Flying Person
Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi

Award and Exile of Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi

All details about Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi, the first person to fly in the world, are transferred from Evliya Çelebi’s Travelogue. For this reason, there is much controversial information regarding this flight. However, when the other sources of the period were reviewed, it was determined that the flight was achieved and spanned exactly 3558 meters. However, according to some sources, the first flying person is considered to be Abbas Kasım İbn Firnas.

After the flight experience, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi became very famous among the people. Sultan Murat rewarded Ahmet Çelebi with a pouch of gold. However, he also exiled him to Algeria, saying that “This man is very dangerous and has evil forces. He can create problems for us in time.” Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi, died in exile in Algeria in 1640.