Aviator, scientist, inventor (B. 1609,
Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi, who made experiments at home and researches in various subjects, created a primitive form of today’s aircrafts by copying another Turkish scientist, İsmail Cevheri. Before his historical flight, he made experiments in Istanbul / Okmeydanı to measure the durability level of the wings which he prepared by examining the birds’ flight. Later one morning, just in front of the eyes of Istanbul society gathered at the shores, he let himself go into the air, crossed the Bosporus by moving his wings and landed on Üsküdar.
In his first flight trials, he was inspired by İsmail Cevheri, one of the Turkish scientists lived in 10th century, he reviewed and learned Cevheri’s findings thoroughly. It is certain that he was also inspired by the drawings of the Italian artist and scientist Leonardo Da Vinci about flying, and even from İsmail Cevheri, who made experiments far before him.
In 1632, Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi crossed the Bosporus with bird-like wings attached to his body on a southwest by jumping to the space from Galata Tower and landed on Doğancılar in Üsküdar, 3358 m. away. Hezarfen Çelebi was definitely one of the most important people of the Turkish aviation history.
The flight of Ahmed Çelebi created a great impact both in the Ottoman Empire and in Europe, and the sultan of the time, Murad IV appreciated it. Sultan Murad IV watched this flight from Sinan Paşa Mansion in Sarayburnu, he was closely interested in him in the beginning and according to Evliya Çelebi, he awarded him with a “pouch full of gold”. However, the sultan hesitated about the existence of such a well-informed and talented man; he exiled him to Algeria by saying that “This man is a man to be afraid of, whatever he wishes he is capable to do so, survival of such man is not allowable” and Hezarfen died there.
It would not be
possible for Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi to fly 3358 m. from
The Turkish movie “İstanbul Kanatlarımın Altında”, directed by Mustafa Altıoklar in 1996, tells the flight story of Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi. On the representational figure on the olive colored green-blue stamp of 20 cents, which is one of the three souvenir stamps issued by PTT Administration for the International Civil Aviation Congress held in Istanbul on October 17th, 1950, the flight of Hezarfen from Galata Tower to Üsküdar was described. By the end of 2010, it was made subject to a short three dimensional animation called “Hezarfen the Movie”.
REFERENCE: Yavuz Kansu - Sermet Şensöz - Yılmaz Öztuna. / Havacılık Tarihinde Türkler (s. 36-38, Ankara 1971), Mustafa Kaçar / “Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi” (Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslam Ansiklopedisi, c. 17, 1998), Evliya Çelebi / Seyahatname (s. 318, 2003), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 2, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).