Saqqara Plane

Description: This wooden model, 5.6 in length with a wingspan of 7.2 was found in 1898 in a tomb, dated at 200 BCE, in Saqqara Egypt. At that time the model was labeled as a bird object and stored in the basement of the Cairo Museum in Egypt. Seventy years later Dr. Kahlil Messiha, an Egyptologist, archeologist and a model plane enthusiest, re-discovered the model among other bird figurines. He immediately recognized that this model did not resemble any bird but did resemble an airplane.

While the model does have an eye and beak like nose, there is no other bird features on the model. Also the model does not resemble any known bird, the tail is vertical like an airplane not horizontal like a bird. Balsa wood replicas have been constructed and flew when thrown by hand. It is proposed that this is a model of an actual plane or glider either witnessed or built by the Egyptians.

Mainstream Theory: Some think the Saqqara Bird may be a ceremonial object, a toy for an elite child, or it could have functioned as a weather vane.

Alternative Theory: The story began when the model was discovered in 1898 in a tomb near Sakkara. The model was then categorized as that of a bird and placed in the Egyptian museum in its designated section, with all the other bird models. In 1969 Dr. Khalil Messiha noticed the difference between this model and the rest of the birds. The typical models of the ancient Egyptian birds have legs but this one did not. Other bird models had painted feathers but not this one. The model has a 7-inch wingspan and a vertical tail, not a horizontal one like typical ancient Egyptian bird models. Messiha's brother, a flight engineer, reproduced it in balsa wood and launched it and it flew. Dr. Messiha was then sure it was a model of an airplane not a bird. The model was from the 3rd century BC, from an age of invention that followed the death of Alexander the Great. That so-called Hellenistic period gave us gears, screws, plumbing, control valves, Euclidean geometry, Archimedes, and Ptolemy's astronomy. The hieroglyphs on the model airplane say "the Gift of Amon". Amon in ancient Egypt was known to be the god of wind and air and this was another proof that the model was more than a model bird. In addition to the phrase on the assumed model, the phrase "I want to fly" was found in three papyrus scripts.