Alberto Santos Dumont

Alberto Santos Dumont was a very important pioneer in aviation history. There of course is lots of controversy between Santos and the Wright Brothers in whom made the first flight successfully. According to Europe and the rest of the world excluding the United States believe it was Santos Dumont. This is because he was awarded and seen by thousands to have flown an aircraft under its own power in Paris. The Wright Brothers where seen by a few people and needed a sort of catapult system to get their aircraft airborne.
Santos Dumont born in Brazil, had immigrated to France in 1891 with his parents that owned a coffee plantation. His career be
gan when he worked on motorized tricycles before turning to ballooning. He was greatly noticed when in 1901 he piloted an airship around the Eiffel Tower winning him 100,000 francs which he later gave to his mechanics.
In 1902 Santos Dumont turned his attention to heavier-then-air flying. His first invention was a glider then tried building a helicopter that never took flight. He was however noticed and to this day for his creation of what is now known as the 14-bis.
The 14-bis meaning 14-encore
since the airplane made its first appearance suspended from the belly of Santos Dumont's No. 14 dirigible. The aircraft actually resembled the closest looking aircraft framework to what we have today with the difference being that it was flown backwards in that time.Nonetheless it flew and under its own power winning Santos an award in Paris, France.
On November 12,1906 he set the fir
st aviation record in Europe flying 722 feet (220 meters) in 21 1/2 seconds with members of the Aero-Club du France in attendance. This won his 14-bis 1500 francs for flying more then 100 meters and because he was observed by officials from what would become the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (the designated keeper of aviation records), he was credited with making the first powered flight in Europe.
Below is a picture of his 14-bis.

This monument is located in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Santos Dumont flew it for the last time on April 4,1907 after reaching a dead end. He decided to turn it around and creat the 15-bis made out of plywood and would fly as we know planes to fly today but it never left the ground.
Later in his life He was stricken with multiple sclerosis, dropped out of aviation, and retired to Brazil in 1916. He died there in 1932.

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