Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi

Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi

Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi was a legendary Ottoman aviator of 17th-century Istanbul.

Legendary Flight

The 17th century writings of Evliyâ Çelebi relate this story of Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi, circa 1630-1632:

"First he practiced by flying over the pulpit of Okmeydani eight or nine times with eagle winds, using the force of the wind. Then, as Sultan Murad Khan (Murad IV) was watching from the Sinan Pasha mansion at Sarayburnu, he flew from the very top of the Galata Tower and landed in the Doğancılar square in Üsküdar, with the help of the south-west wind. Then Murad Khan granted him a sack of golden coins, and said: 'This is a scary man. He is capable of doing anything he wishes. It is not right to keep such people,' and thus sent him to Algeria on exile. He died there".Çelebi, Evliya (2003). "Seyahatname". Istanbul: Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat Yayıncılık, p. 318.]

The title Hezârfen, given by Evliyâ Çelebi to Ahmed Çelebi, means “a thousand sciences” (polymath).

The few people alleged to have made similar attempts at flight were Abbas Ibn Firnas, from 9th century Moorish Spain, and Eilmer of Malmesbury, a 12th century English monk.

Evliyâ Çelebi also tells of Hezarfen's brother, Lagari Hasan Çelebi, performing the first flight with a rocket in a conical cage filled with gunpowder in 1633. The exploits of the brothers were also mentioned by John Wilkins in his "Discovery of a World in Moone" in 1638.Tosun Terzioğlu (2007). " [http://www.muslimheritage.com/uploads/Rocket_Technology_in_Turkish_history1.pdf The First Attempts of Flight, Automatic Machines, Submarines and Rocket Technology in Turkish History] ," "The Turks" (ed. H. C. Guzel), p. 804-810.]


There are no other contemporary references to the events written of by Evliyâ Çelebi. No record of Sultan Murad's grant or banishment indicated in Evliyâ Çelebi's account have been produced or are sited.

*The Galata Tower sits convert|35|m|ft|0|abbr=on above sea-level, the peak of its conical dome convert|62.59|m|ft|2|abbr=on above ground level and convert|97.59|m|ft|2|abbr=on above sea-level. [ [http://www.galatatower.net/eng/tarih.php?a=1&b=2 Official Galata Tower Web Site] ]
*Doğancılar square is about convert|12|m|ft|0|abbr=on above sea-level, near center.
*The Elevation change between Peak and Square is convert|85.59|m|ft|0|abbr=on.
*The Distance between Tower and Square is approximately convert|3.358|km|mi|0|abbr=on|sp=us.

This provides, assuming no wind, stable air, and arbitrating no loss of altitude on launch, a glide ratio's of 39.49:1.

The highest performance modern contemporary foot-launched glider is the Aériane Swift, a composite aircraft with a top glide ratio of 27:1. [ Aériane, manufacturers of the SWIFT [http://www.aeriane.com/data.htm] ]

Popular culture

Evliyâ Çelebi's account of the exploits of Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi is only three sentences long (of a ten volume work), but the story has great currency in Turkey. One of the three airports in Istanbul carries the name "Hezarfen Airfield", while a feature length film, "İstanbul Kanatlarımın Altında" (Istanbul Under My Wings, 1996) concerns the lives of Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi, his brother Lagari Hasan Çelebi, and the Ottoman society in the early 17th century, as witnessed and narrated by Evliyâ Çelebi.

ee also

* History of hang gliding


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