Just six years after the Wright Brother’s first successful powered flight in Ohio, the Islamic State (Uthmani Khilafah) became one of the first nations in the world to start a military aviation program. Impressive as it may seem that Muslims quickly adopted this technology, the precedence to acquire new techniques and technologies for the protection of the Islamic State and its expansion was shown by the Prophet (saaw) himself.
In his Tarikh (History), At-Tabari reports that the Prophet (saaww) had sent two of his companions, ‘Urwah Ibn Mas’ud and Ghitan ibn Salmah, to the city of Jarash in Syria to learn the techniques of manufacturing Dababas (tank like weapons), Manjaniq (catapult) and Dhabur (similar to tanks). These were weapons used by the Romans of the time
Military attaches from the Islamic State staying in European capitals studied the development of military air craft in Europe, and very soon in 1909 military officials of the Uthmani Khilafah invited French aviators to Istanbul to perform demonstrations. The Belgian pilot Baron de Catters came to Istanbul and performed an exhibition flight with his Voisin biplane upon the invitation of the Minister of War Mahmut Şevket Paşa. As a direct consequence of this demonstration, awareness and interest in military aviation was greatly increased in the Islamic State. Officials sent a delegation to the International Aviation Conference in Paris. In 1910 Muslims candidates were sent to Europe to be trained as pilots, however financial issues within the state caused this plan to be postponed. Nonetheless a few pilots were still trained in flight schools in Paris and gained their flight certificates.
In 1912, the first military pilots of the Islamic State, Captain Fesa Bey and Lieutenant Yusuf Kenan Bey completed their training in France and returned home. They were given 2 of the 15 airplanes bought through public funding. On April 27, 1912 Fesa Bey and Yusuf Kenan Bey flew over Istanbul becoming the first Muslim pilots to fly the first Muslim air craft over Muslim lands. Shortly afterwards in July of 1912, a Flight Training School was opened in Yeşilköy, a suburb of Istanbul, so that the Islamic State could train its own pilots. This marked an important step for the Islamic State from dependence on foreign countries. Quickly the number of pilots increased to 18 and the number of aircraft to 17. This was soon put to the test when the semi-autonomous regions in the Balkans rebelled against the Uthmani Khilafah and declared war against the Islamic State. The air force did not play a critical role in the initial stage of this conflict, but in the second phase of the war, 9 fighter aircraft and 4 training aircraft performed an important function.
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