Alberto Santos-Dumont: (20 July, 1873 – 23 July, 1932)
- Considered the "Father of Aviation" in his country of birth, Brazil.
- The son of a wealthy coffee baron and gifted engineer.
- Childhood fascination with the works of Jules Verne and flying1.
- Moved to Paris to study Science and Technology.
- Rose to fame in Parisian society for his aviation exploits.
- Developed the world's first purpose built aircraft engine2..
- Controlled flight around the Eiffel Tower in a Dirigible (Motorized balloon with directional control).
- First public flight of a powered aircraft (14 Bis)3.
- Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1928 he returned to Brazil.
- Died in Guarujá, São Paulo on 23rd July 1932.
|airship||No. 6||1901||Won the Deutsch prize|
|airship||No. 7||1902||Not clear whether it was ever flown; it was destroyed at the St. Louis, Missouri exhibition|
|There never was a No. 8; Santos-Dumont was superstitious about the number.|
|airship||No. 9 ''Baladeuse''||1903|
|airship||No. 10||1905||A 10-person omnibus; made only test flights.|
|monoplane||No. 11||1905||Used as glider aircraft only, never had an engine.|
|biplane||No. 14-bis||1906||Tail-forward canard design; his historical flight.|
|biplane||No. 15||1907||Tail-rearward (tractor) design, like all others below.|
|biplane||No. 17||-||Design only, never built.|
|floatplane||No 18||-||Wingless; probably would have wings someday, but not followed up on.|
|monoplane||No 20||-||A modification of No. 19.|
|monoplane||No 21 ''Demoiselle''||1909|
|monoplane||No 22 ''Demoiselle''||-||With a different engine|
(Wikipedia, 2009 5).
Contributions to Aviation
During his life Santos-Dumont attained international recognition for his feats in ballooning and aeronautics; he set records and displayed an undying persistence in achieving goals for mankind in aviation. The publicity his work received and his commitment to developing aviation both as a sport and means of transport generously contributed to the growth of aviation in Brazil and the rest of the world.
Santos-Dumont's earliest contributions to aviation included development of the worlds first steerable balloons and a purpose built aero-engine, however his most public recognition came from his powered flight in the 14-Bis.
Although the 14-Bis made the statement, "man can fly", it was his Demoiselle that provided the most enduring contribution towards flying for personal transport and sport.
The Demoiselle was controlled in flight partly by a tail unit that functioned both as an elevator and rudder), and by wing warping (design precursor to ailerons) 3.
Capable of speeds upwards of 100 kmph the low cost Demoiselle gained immense popularity worldwide and unlike the Wright Brothers,
the quirky Santos-Dumont held strongly to his principles of freely sharing scientific knowledge refusing to patent any of his designs.
In 1911 the magazine Popular Mechanics published blueprints and assembly instructions for the Demoiselle in its June and July editions.
Clement-Bayard, the Paris automobile manufacturer had such confidence in the Demoiselle they produced three hundred of them. The design was so efficient that many of its atributes were retained in many of the early microlights still flying to this day.
Powered with a 30 hp engine and selling for $1250 and it wasn’t long before the craft was a common sight in the skies of Europe and the company opened a Demoiselle flight school.
The Demoiselle enjoyed similar popularity in the USA with Hamilton Aero Manufacturing and other companies offering to supply the Demoiselle, one of these aircraft was purchased by WWI fighter ace Roland Garros who reportedly flew it in New York around 19104.
Video embedded from YouTube on 10 August 2009
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