Alberto Santos-Dumont

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Alberto Santos-Dumont
Alberto Santos-Dumont portrait.jpg
Santos-Dumont in 1902
Born(1873-07-20)20 July 1873
Died23 July 1932(1932-07-23) (aged 59)
Resting placeCemitério de São João Batista
NationalityBrazilian
OccupationAeronaut
Inventor
Known forNº6
14-Bis
Demoiselle
Parents
Awards
Signature
Assinatura do Santos Dumont 2.gif

Alberto Santos Dumont (Palmira, 20 July 1873 — Guarujá, 23 July 1932) was a Brazilian aeronaut, sportsman, inventor,[1][2] and one of the very few people to have contributed significantly to the early development of both lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air aircraft. The heir of a wealthy family of coffee producers, Santos-Dumont dedicated himself to aeronautical study and experimentation in Paris, where he spent most of his adult life. He designed, built, and flew the first gasoline-powered dirigible balloons and won the Deutsch Prize in 1901, when he flew around the Eiffel Tower in his airship No. 6, becoming one of the most famous people in the world in the early 20th century.[3][4]

He then progressed to powered heavier-than-air machines and on 23 October 1906 flew about 60 metres at a height of two to three metres with the fixed-wing 14-Bis (also dubbed the Oiseau de Proie—"bird of prey") at the Bagatelle Gamefield in Paris, taking off unassisted by an external launch system. On 12 November in front of a crowd of witnesses, he flew 220 metres at a height of six metres. These were the first heavier-than-air flights certified by the Aeroclub of France and the first such flights to be officially witnessed anywhere by an aeronautics record keeping body,[5][6] and later were the first flights of their kind recognized by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).[5][7][8]

Santos-Dumont is a national hero in Brazil, where it is popularly held that he preceded the Wright brothers in demonstrating a practical airplane.[9][10] Countless roads, plazas, schools, monuments, and airports in the country are dedicated to him, and his name is inscribed on the Tancredo Neves Pantheon of the Fatherland and Freedom. He was a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters from 1931 until his suicide in 1932.

Childhood[edit]

Francisca de Paula Santos

Alberto Santos Dumont was the sixth child of Henrique Dumont, an engineer who graduated from the Central School of Arts and Manufactures in Paris, and Francisca de Paula Santos. The couple had eight children, three sons and five daughters: Henrique dos Santos Dumont, Maria Rosalina Dumont Vilares, Virgínia Dumont Vilares, Luís dos Santos Dumont [pt], Gabriela, Alberto Santos Dumont, Sofia, and Francisca.[11] In 1873, the family moved to the small town of Cabangu, in the municipality of João Aires,[12][A] for Henrique Dumont to work on the construction of the D. Pedro II railroad. The construction work finished when Alberto was 6 years old, and then the family moved to São Paulo.[15] It was here that Santos Dumont began to show signs of the aeronautical work that would bring him so much prominence, for according to his parents' statements, at the age of one he used to puncture rubber balloons to see what was inside.[16] It was in Valença that Santos Dumont was baptized, at the Matriz de Santa Teresa [pt], on 20 February 1877, by priest Teodoro Teotônio da Silva Carolina.[17]

Alberto Santos Dumont's birthplace and current Cabangu Museum
Some of Santos-Dumont's relatives: (left to right) Maria Rosalina, Virgínia, Gabriela, Santos-Dumont, Francisca, Amália (sister-in-law), and her husband Henrique.[18]
Railroad in the coffee plantation

In 1879, the Dumonts sold their farm in Valença, Rio de Janeiro, and settled in Sítio do Cascavel, in Ribeirão Preto, where they bought the Arindeúva Farm,[19] of José Bento Junqueira, producing? one thousand two hundred bushels.[B] Until the age of 10, Santos-Dumont was schooled by his older sister, Virginia.[22] From 10 to 12 years old[C] he studied at Colégio Culto à Ciência,[24] without having stood out among the classes.[22] He then studied at Colégio Kopke in São Paulo, Colégio Morton, and Colégio Menezes Vieira in Rio de Janeiro,[25][D] and later at the School of Engineering from Minas, without having finished the course.[27] However, he was not considered an outstanding student, having studied only what he was interested in and extending his studies in a self-taught way in his father's library.[26] At this time he already displayed the refined manners that would later become part of his image in France,[26] as well as having an introverted personality.[27] Santos-Dumont saw his first human-powered flight in São Paulo at the age of 15, in 1888, when an aeronaut ascended in a spherical balloon and parachuted down.[28] After a trip the Dumont family made to Paris in 1891, Santos-Dumont began to become interested in mechanics, especially the "internal combustion engine", which later culminated in the construction of a balloon (without an engine), which later led to the creation of his airplane. From then on, the young dreamer never stopped searching for alternatives, receiving from the City Council of Ribeirão Preto, according to Law nº 100, of 4 November 1903, a um conto réis subsidy to continue his researches that, three years later, resulted in the creation of his airplane.[29]

Santos-Dumont would remember with nostalgia the times spent on his father's farm, where he enjoyed the greatest freedom:

"I lived a free life there, which was indispensable to form my temperament and taste for adventure. Since childhood I had a great love for mechanical things, and like all those who have or think they have a vocation, I cultivated mine with care and passion. I always played at imagining and building little mechanical devices, which entertained me and earned me high regard in the family. My greatest joy was taking care of my father's mechanical installations. That was my department, which made me very proud."[30]

At the age of seven Santos-Dumont was already driving the farm's locomotives, and at twelve he was having fun as a locomotive engineer, capable of exhausting a man three times his age, but the speed achievable on land was not enough for him.[31][32] By observing coffee machines he soon learned that oscillatory machines wore out more, while those with circular motion were more efficient.[33]

By reading the works of the French writer Jules Verne, with whose fictional heroes he was compared in the course of his life,[34] was born in Santos-Dumont the desire to conquer the air.[32][35] The submarines, the balloons, the ocean liners, and all the other means of transportation that the fertile novelist envisioned in his works made a deep impression on the boy's mind. Years later, as an adult, he still remembered with emotion the adventures lived in imagination:

"With Captain Nemo and his guests I explored the depths of the ocean in this forerunner of the submarine, the Nautilus. With Phileas Fogg I traveled around the world in eighty days. On the propeller-powered Island and in the steam-powered House, my boyish credulity greeted with enthusiastic welcome the definitive triumph of automobilism, which at that time still had no name. With Heitor Servadoc I sailed through space."[36]

Technology fascinated him. He began building kites and small airplanes powered by a propeller driven by twisted rubber springs,[37] as he himself says in a commentary on the letter he received the day he won the Deutsch prize, recalling his childhood: "This letter takes me back to the happiest days of my life, when, waiting for better opportunities, I exercised myself by building aircraft with straw stalks, whose propellers were powered by rolled-up rubber strips, or by making ephemeral balloons out of tissue paper". (Santos Dumont)[38][39] Thus every year, on 24 June he would fill whole fleets of tiny silk balloons over the bonfires of St. John, to watch in ecstasy his ascension into the heavens.[40]

Career[edit]

Mountaineering, motorsports and ballooning[edit]

Santos Dumont first balloon, 1898

In 1891, at the age of 18, Santos Dumont took a sightseeing trip to Europe.[41] In England he spent a few months perfecting his English, and in France he climbed Mont Blanc.[42] This adventure, at an altitude of almost 5,000 metres, got him used to high heights.[4] The following year, his father emancipated him on 12 February 1892,[43] due to his accident,[44] advising the young Alberto to focus on studies in mechanics, chemistry, and electricity.[45][E] With this Alberto returned to France where he entered motor racing and cycling.[42] He also began technical-scientific studies with a professor of Spanish origin named Garcia.[47][F] In 1894 he traveled to the United States, visiting New York, Chicago, and Boston..[50] That same year he went on to study at Bristol University, but never graduated. Agenor Barbosa described Santos Dumont of this period as a "student of little diligence, or rather, not at all studious for 'theories', but of admirable practical and mechanical talent and, since then, revealing himself in everything, of inventive genius",[51][G] but who was later described by Agnor as someone focused on aviation from when "...'explosion engines' began to succeed."[33]

In 1897, already independent and heir to an immense fortune[H] with which it invested in the development of his projects[55][I] and allowed him to work without being accountable to any investor[54] – was 24 years old – Santos Dumont left for France, where he hired professional aeronauts who taught him the art of balloon piloting after reading the book "Andrée – Au Pôle Nord en ballon", about the polar expedition of Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition.[57][J] On 23 March 1898 he made his first ascent in a Lachambre & Machuron balloon at a cost of 400 francs,[K] describing that: "I will never forget the genuine pleasure of my first balloon ascent".[57] That year, even before he was known as a balloonist, he began to be quoted by the media due to his involvement in motor racing.[60]

On 30 May 1898, he made his first night ascent,[43] and the following month he started working as a captain, taking a group of passengers in a rented balloon.[61] It is known that by 1900 he had created nine balloons, of which two became famous: the "Brazil" and the "Amérique".[4] The first one premiered on 4 July 1898,[62] was the smallest aircraft ever built until then – inflated with hydrogen, it covered a mere 113 metres in a silk envelope[L] of 6 metres in diameter,[64] weighing 27.5 kg without the crewman[57] and made more than 200 flights.[65][M] According to biographer Gondin da Fonseca [pt], Dumont would have been influenced to create his first balloon after following the Paris-Amsterdam race on his tricycle.[42] The second balloon, Amérique, had 500m³ of hydrogen and 10 metres in diameter, and was capable of carrying a few passengers, but without control.[67] With the second balloon he faced everything from storms to accidents.[68] In his first experiments he was awarded a prize by the French Aeroclub for his study of atmospheric currents; he reached high altitudes and even stayed in the air for more than 22 hours.[61] At this time Dumont already understood the need for government investment in aviation development[N] and the importance of public opinion being in favor of this, something previously noted by Júlio César Ribeiro de Sousa [pt].[72]

Dirigibles[edit]

It was first demonstrated and patented by the Brazilian priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão in 1709, and had its first crewed flight by the Montgolfier Brothers in 1783,[73] the existing view until the late 19th century was that balloon dirigibility was something unresolved, having already been addressed by, among others, Henri Giffard,[74] Charles Renard and Arthur Constantin Krebs in a flight with an electric motor in a closed circuit[O] in a project abandoned by the French Army, and by the Brazilian Júlio César Ribeiro de Sousa, without success.[76][P] Public demonstration, such as the ones performed by Santos Dumont, became something of paramount importance in the skeptical academic environment.[78]

Due to the weight of the electric motors, Dumont chose the combustion engine. During initial tests, he received help by lifting his tricycle used in the Paris-Amsterdam race up a tree to check for vibrations, which did not occur.[79] He came to adapt the engine, putting the two cylinders on top of each other,[80] succeeding in creating a lightweight 3.5 horsepower device, becoming the first explosion engine successfully used in aeronautics.[81][Q]

N-1
Airship Nº1
Airship Nº2

The first airship designed by Santos Dumont, the N-1, 25 metres long and 186 cubic metres,[82] had its first takeoff attempt in February 1898,[R] after being inflated in Henri Lachambre's workshops in Vaugirard. But snowy conditions caused the airship to bend and fall. "At a height of five or six metres, over Longchamp, the apparatus suddenly bent and the crash began. Of my entire career, this is the most abominable memory I have in store."[32][43]

After this incident, it was inflated in the Aclimation Garden in Paris on 18 September 1898, but ended up torn before it was tried, due to a bad manoeuvre by the helpers on the ground holding the ropes of the aircraft. Repaired two days later, the aircraft took off and progressed in all directions. An unforeseen event, however, shortened the trip: the air pump responsible for supplying the internal balloon, which kept the balloon envelope rigid, did not work properly,[43] and the airship, at a height of 400 metres, began to bend and descend rapidly.[82] In an interview, Santos Dumont told how he escaped death:

"The descent was at a speed of 4 to 5 m/sec. It would have been fatal if I hadn't had the presence of mind to tell the passersby, spontaneously suspended from the dangling cable like a real human cluster, to pull the cable in the opposite direction to the wind. Thanks to this maneuver, the speed of the fall decreased, thus avoiding the greater violence of the shock. I thus varied my amusement: I went up in a balloon and came down in a kite."[83]

N-2

In 1899, Santos-Dumont built a new aircraft, the N-2, with the same length and more or less the same shape, but with a larger diameter: 3.80 metres, which increased the volume to 200 cubic metres.[84] Considering the inadequacy of the air pump, which had almost killed him, he added a small aluminum fan to ensure that the shape of the balloon remained unchanged.[85]

The first test was scheduled for 11 May 1899. At the time of the experiment, heavy rain made the balloon heavy. The demonstration consisted of simple maneuvers with the aircraft attached by a rope; nevertheless, the test ended in the adjacent trees. The balloon had folded under the combined action of the contraction of the hydrogen and the force of the wind.[86][87]

N-3

In September of that year Santos Dumont started the construction of a new elongated balloon, the N-3,[S] inflated with lighting gas, 20 metres long and 7.50 in diameter, with a capacity of 500 cubic metres. The basket installed was the same used in the two other aircraft.[90]

Airship Nº3

At 3:30 pm on 13 November, the date when, according to some astrologers, the world would end 100 years earlier, Santos Dumont, in a gesture of defiance, took off in N-3 from Vaugirard Aerostation Park and went around the Eiffel Tower for the first time.[43] From the monument he went to the Parc des Princes and from there to the Bagatelle Gamefield in the Bois de Boulogne (near the Hippodrome of Longchamp). It landed at the exact spot where the N-1 had crashed, this time under controlled conditions.[91] He got excited:

"From that day on, I no longer had the slightest doubt about the success of my invention.[T] I recognized that I would, for life, be dedicated to aircraft construction. I needed to have my workshop, my aeronautical garage, my hydrogen-generating apparatus, and a plumbing system to connect my installation to the illuminating gas pipelines."[92]

Indeed, the far-sighted balloonist soon had a large hangar built at the Saint Cloud site, long and high enough to hold the N-3 with its completely filled casing, as well as the various devices needed to manufacture the hydrogen gas.[93] This airfield, completed on 15 June 1900, was 30 metres long, 7 metres wide, and 11 metres high.[43][U] But it was no longer intended to house N-3, which had been abandoned by the inventor, but rather N-4, completed on 1 August of that year.[43] With No. 3 he broke the record of 23 hours on air.[96] He also tried to fly almost every day, demonstrating the reliability and usefulness of his aircraft.[97]

N-4

At that time, a huge prize was shaking up the aviation scene. On 24 March, 1900, the Jewish millionaire oil magnate Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe sent the President of the Aeroclub of France, which had been founded two years earlier, a letter in which he promised to award 100,000 francs to anyone who could invent an efficient flying machine:[43]

"Desirous of contributing to the solution of the problem of air travel, I undertake to place at the disposal of the Air Club a sum of 100,000 francs, constituting a prize, under the title of the Air Club Prize, to the aeronaut who, leaving the park of Saint Cloud, Longchamps, or any other point situated at an equal distance from the Eiffel Tower, reaches this monument in half an hour, and, surrounding it, returns to the point of departure. (...) If one of the competitors is judged to have fulfilled the program, the prize will be awarded to him by the President of the Club himself, to whom I will immediately put the amount indicated above. If at the end of five years, beginning on April 15 of the current year, 1900, no one has won it, I consider my commitment null and void."[98]

Keel from N-4

The challenge became known in the press as the Deutsch Prize. The regulations stipulated that an aircraft, to be considered practical, must be able to fly to the Eiffel Tower, round the monument, and return to the place of ascent in no more than thirty minutes, without stops, covering a total of 11 kilometres under the eyes of a commission from the Aeroclub de France, convened at least one day in advance. The minimum average speed to be reached, therefore, was 22 km/h.[99][100]

The award encouraged Alberto Santos Dumont to attempt faster flights with the N-4.[101] The aircraft was 420 cubic metres, 29 metres long, and 5.60 metres in diameter.[102] Underneath was a 9.40-metre bamboo pole keel, in the middle of which were the saddle and pedals of an ordinary bicycle. Mounted on the saddle, the pilot had under his feet the starting pedals of a 7-horsepower engine, which powered a front propeller with two 4-metre long silk blades. Next to the pilot were the ends of ropes through which he could control the carburetor and valve settings, as well as the rudder, ballast, and displacement weights.[103] With the N-4 Santos Dumont made in August almost daily flights departing from Saint Cloud. On 19 September, before members of the International Congress of Aeronauts, he provided clear proof of the effective work of an aerial propeller driven by an oil engine: he marched repeatedly against the wind, even with a broken rudder, impressing the scientists present.[104] The general impression was that Dumont would win the Deutsch Prize and upon going to Nice after falling ill, he began designing the N-5 using, for the first time, piano wire in the aircraft's suspensions.[105]

N-5 and N-6
Alberto Santos Dumont in 1901 showing Charles Rolls, one of the pioneers of aviation, the plans for his airship (Collection from the USP Paulista Museum. Santos Dumont Collection).
Santos Dumont circling the Eiffel Tower with the airship n-5, 13 July 1901

The N-5 was built to try to win the Henry Deutsch de la Meurthe award[105][V] for a flight from the Aero-Club de France flying field in Saint-Cloud to the Eiffel Tower and back in 30 minutes. It used the extended envelope of No. 4, from which a triangular gondola made of pine was suspended. Other innovations included the use of piano wire to suspend the gondola, greatly reducing drag, and the inclusion of water tanks as ballast. Powered by a 12 hp, 4-cylinder air-cooled engine moving a propeller.[107]

On 13 April the "Santos-Dumont Prize" was created, which was basically the same as the Deutsch Prize, but without a time limit.[108] On 13 July 1901,[W] After some experimental outings, Santos Dumont competed with the N-5 in the Deutsch Award for the first time. It completed the required course, but exceeded the time limit stipulated for the race by ten minutes.[110] At that time, he met the Countess Isabel, after an accident.[108] On 29 July he aborted the flight where he cut his fingers on the way down the guide-rope, and at that time French aeronauts started a smear campaign against Dumont.[111]

On the 8th of the following month, trying for the prize again, he ended up crashing his aircraft into the Hotel Trocadero;[112] although the balloon exploded and was completely destroyed, the pilot escaped the accident unscathed[113] and publicly tested the engine in front of everyone, to show its reliability.[114] The cause of the accident was due to one of the automatic valves having a weakened spring, which caused the loss of gas.[109]

After offering his own 21 cubic metre balloon which was under construction – and being politely refused – Henri Deutsch said, "I'm afraid the experiments will not be conclusive. Mr. Santos-Dumont's balloon will always be at the mercy of the wind, and is therefore not the kind of aircraft we dream of."[115]

On 19 October 1901, with the 622 cubic metre N-6 balloon with a 20 horsepower engine, he finally executed the test in 29 minutes and 30 seconds,[116][X] but it took about a minute to land, which caused the committee to initially deny the award.[Y] This became a matter of controversy, as both the public and Mr. Deutsch believed that the aviator had won. After some time and the aviator protesting this decision, it was reversed. He became internationally recognized as the world's greatest aviator and the inventor of the airship. The prize was then 100,000 francs plus interest,[116] that Dumont distributed among his staff and the unemployed[118][3] and workers in Paris who for some reason had "pawned their tools of labor"[119] with help from the City Hall of Paris.[120][Z] A month before the event, by announcing this intention, he had obtained "unrestricted support from public opinion". However, the money was only released on 4 November after a vote in which nine members of the Aeroclub were against and fifteen were in favor.[121] This delay only served to put public opinion in Santos Dumont's favor.[122] In the afternoon of the same day, he sent an irrevocable letter of resignation to the Aeroclub.[123] Mauricio Pazini Brandão, in "The Santos-Dumont legacy to aeronautics, says that this event should be considered as the certification of the airship.[124]

Nº6 airship

After winning the Deutsch Prize, Santos Dumont began to receive letters from several countries, in different languages, congratulating him;[125][AA] magazines published lavish, richly illustrated editions to reproduce his image and perpetuate the achievement;[127] tributes were paid to him in France, in Brazil, in England, where the English Aero Club offered a banquet[42] and in several other countries: as far back as 1901, the president of Brazil, Campos Sales sent him prize money of 100 contos de réis following the proposal of Augusto Severo,[128] as well as a gold medal with his effigy and an allusion to Camões: " Through skies never sailed before";[129] in January 1902, Albert I, the enthusiastic Prince of Monaco, extended him an invitation he couldn't refuse to continue his experiments in the Principality. He offered him a new hangar on the beach at La Condamine, and everything else Alberto thought necessary for his comfort and safety,[130] which was accepted;[131] his success has also inspired the creation of several biographies and influenced fictional characters, with Tom Swift as a prime example;[132] in April of that year, at his invitation, Santos Dumont traveled to the United States, where he visited Thomas Edison's laboratories in New York,[133] where they discussed the problem of patents.[AB] The American asked Dumont to create the Aero Club of the US and when explaining the reason not to charge for demonstrations in Saint Louis, Dumont said: "I am an amateur".[AC] After the meeting with Edison, Dumont declared to the American press that he did not intend to patent his aircraft.[136] In addition, he was received at the White House in Washington, DC, by President Theodore Roosevelt.[133] In July 1902, after the creation of the Aeroclub of the United States, Dumont even announced the execution of a series of flights in American territory, which did not take place, which confused the media – that created several articles exploring his intimacy – and American public opinion.[137] He left New York in late 1902, without having made a single flight[138] and the American view did not consider their inventions to be practical or profitable.[139]

At the beginning of the last century, Santos Dumont was the only person on the planet capable of controlled flight.[134] After his time in the United States, he learned of the fatal accident of Augusto Severo and the suicide of his mother;[140] he returned to England, where he had left No. 6 being prepared for an exhibition at The Crystal Palace, as well as planning to fly into London.[135] However, a technical error caused the fabric to be punctured – this view was confirmed by the balloonist Stanley Spencer.[140]

Monaco

In Monaco, after accepting Prince Albert 1st's invitation, Dumont guided the construction of a 55m long, 10m wide and 15m high hangar, with doors, designed by Dumont, of 10 tons,[128] on the Boulevard de La Condamine by the sea, in order to test how the guide wire behaved at sea, finding it a good way to stabilize the aircraft in low flight.[116] Dumont also demonstrated that overall the aircraft behaved well over water, reaching up to 42 km/h (26 mph).[141] Its success made clear the possible military use of the aircraft, especially in case of submarine warfare, but its plans in the principality were interrupted after a crash in the Bay of Monaco on 14 February 1902.[142] The crash was due to the balloon being "imperfectly filled when leaving the garage."[143] After the accident he began to perform the "check list" before each take-off – but No. 6 ended up in an unrecoverable state.[144][AD]

N-7, N-8, N-9 and N-10
Airship Nº10

After the homage period, Santos Dumont started to dedicate himself to the construction of new airship models, two years after he left Paris,[146] each one with a specific purpose: the N-7, with 1,257 cubic metres[147] and 45 horsepower engine,[148] designed to be a racing airship, was tested in Neuilly (France) in May 1904. The following month the aircraft was sabotaged in an exhibition organized in St. Louis (United States of America),[AE] getting ruined, and could not be rebuilt – a malefactor, never identified, made four 1-metre cuts which, because the balloon was folded, resulted in forty-eight cuts in the envelope,[150] when it was in New York Customs[151][AF] – on this trip, he also met the Wright Brothers;[153] the N-8 was a copy of the N-6 ordered by an American collector named Edward Boyce,[154] vice president of the Aeroclub of America,[155][AG] having made a single flight in New York;[144] the N-9, with 261 cubic metres and 3 horsepower, was a travel airship, in which Santos Dumont made several flights throughout 1903,[131] as the first night flight of an airship on 24 June, and the last of these came on 14 July.[156] On this day, the N-9 took part in a military parade[157] in commemoration of the 114th anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille.[131] As he passed the President of the Republic, he fired 21 revolver shots into the air and with the presentation, the military considered the balloon to be a practical instrument, considerable for wartime.[158] Dumont placed himself and his flotilla of three aircraft at the disposal of the government in the event of foreign hostility, provided it was not against the nations of the Americas and that, "in the impossible event of war between France and Brazil," Dumont considered himself obliged to place himself on the side of his motherland.[159] With the demonstration of feasibility, the French military encouraged several industries to develop the technology proposed by Santos-Dumont.[149]

The first woman to fly an aircraft was Aida de Acosta, on 29 June 1903, flying the N-9.[160][161] The 11 August 1905 issue of "La Vie au Grand Air" describes the organization of the second edition of the "Coupe des Femmes Aéronautes"[162] and in the second half of 1906, the magazine "Le Sport Universel Illustré" reported that three years after the start of the Grand Prix of the Aéro-Club de France, seven countries were already participating in the competition.[163]

The N-10, a 2,010 cubic metre, 60 horsepower engine, was a coach airship, large enough to carry several people and serve for public transportation. Although the aircraft made a few ascents in October 1903, it was never completely finished; the N-11, was an unmanned monoplane.[AH] No 12 was a helicopter never completed due to the technological limitation of the time and finally, N-13, a luxurious double hot air and hydrogen balloon.[164]

On his first return to Rio de Janeiro in 1903, a group of climbers put up a banner on Sugarloaf Mountain, to the side of Guanabara Bay, greeting the aviator, while he was still returning by ship from Europe.[34] On the day of his return, 7 September 1903, he was received as a hero and even greeted the then President of Brazil, Rodrigues Alves, at the Catete Palace. When asked why he didn't fly in Brazil, Santos Dumont justified himself that it was because he couldn't "...count on the help of his mechanics, and much less on a hydrogen production plant like he had in France." He returned to Paris on 12 October.[165] In 1904 he was initially nominated as a Knight of the Legion of Honor of France and published the work "Dans L'Air", whose translation into Portuguese, "Os Meus Balões" (My Balloons), was only published in Brazil in 1938.[166]

Aviation[edit]

Footage of Alberto Santos Dumont in the 21st second of a 1945 newsreel about the various human flight debuts, but be aware of factual errors in the narration.

In October 1904, three aviation prizes were founded in France: the Archdeacon Prize [pt], the French Aeroclub Prize [pt], and the Deutsch-Archdeacon Prize [pt]. The first, promoted by millionaire Ernest Archdeacon, would award 3,500 francs to anyone who flew 25 metres; the second, instituted by the French aeroclub, would award 1,500 francs ($300) to anyone who flew 100 metres; and the third, sponsored by Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe and Ernest Archdeacon, would award 1,500 francs to anyone who flew 1,000 metres.[167]

With the exception of the Deutsch-Archdeacon Award, which did not admit that the competing aircraft should at any time use a balloon for support, the other awards left the question of takeoff open. The flight could take place on flat or uneven terrain, in calm weather or under wind – the French Aeroclub's Award required the flight to be into the wind – and the use of an engine was not mandatory. This gave a free pass to human-powered gliders and ornithopters to compete as well. It was expressly required for all prizes, however, that the race took place in France and under the supervision of an aeronautical commission convened no later than the evening of the previous day.[168]

Very little of what was required was new. Inventors in other countries had already met or even exceeded some of the required goals.[AI] In Germany, Otto Lilienthal made thousands of descending glider flights in the early 1890s, often reaching distances far greater than the 25 metres stipulated by the Archdeacon Prize. In the United States, the Wright brothers had been making ever longer flights in powered airplanes since 1903, their takeoffs aided by headwinds near Kitty Hawk and a catapult in Ohio, but without any official observers.[172][153][173] Otto Lilienthal's death due to a stall led the Wright brothers to place the horizontal elevator in front, which helped prevent stalls but made stable flight difficult until the Wrights modified the design; the configuration nevertheless was adopted by other inventors.[174][AJ]

Glider and Helicopter

Having already accumulated technical knowledge, mainly concerning engines,[176] in early 1905, Santos Dumont built a model glider, the N-11, inspired by a self-stabilizing prototype made 100 years earlier by English scientist George Cayley, considered to be the first airplane in history: the model, 1.5 metres long by 1.2 metres wide, had fixed wings, a cruciform tail and a movable weight to adjust the center of gravity. Dumont's glider differed from Cayley's in size, wing profile, and the fact that it had no movable weight.[177][178] The project was abandoned due to poor stability.[176]

Nº12 (helicopter) in construction

The first experiment, conducted on 13 May at the Aeroclub de France, was made by the Dufaux brothers with a prototype helicopter. The model, weighing 17 kilograms and equipped with a 3-horsepower engine, repeatedly soared fast to the roof of the air club's porch, raising clouds of dust. It had been demonstrated that heavier, larger aircraft could be lifted by their own means.[179] The second experiment was made on 8 June on the Seine River: Gabriel Voisin went up in the hydroplane Archdeacon, towed by a speedboat piloted by Alphonse Tellier [fr], La Rapière. The device barely rose out of the water and the project was abandoned due to poor stability.[180] Watching tests like this, Dumont realized that the Antoinette engine used in the tugboat could be used in an airplane, giving rise to the concept of the 14-bis.[53]

Divided, he began to study the two solutions for the heavier than air. On 3 January 1906, he entered the Deutsch-Archdeacon Prize, and before that he had begun building a helicopter, the "N-12," but gave up on it on 1 June because it was impossible to create a light, powerful engine.[180]

Olympic diploma, 1905

On 13 June 1905, represented by the Italian Count Eugenio Brunetta d'Usseaux, Pierre de Coubertin awarded Santos-Dumont the Olympic Diploma No. 3[181] for "...representing the Olympic ideal..." according to Coubertin, who was also received by Theodore Roosevelt, Fridjoff Nansen and William-Hippolyte Grenfell.[182] Pierre considered aviation a sport; Santos Dumont was described as a sportsman in FAI "Bulletins" and the "Paris Sport" of 15 July 1901 described the Brazilian as "a true sportsman in every sense of the word.[151] The homage to the Brazilian is considered relevant due to the fact that he was already famous at that time and already consecrated as a hero in his country.[183] Santos' diploma was passed to the Brazilian ambassador in Belgium, who then passed it on to the aviator, according to the 21 June 1905 edition of the Correio Paulistano [pt].[184] Dumont was not the only one represented by others at the ceremony[185] and only William Grenfell received the diploma personally.[186] The FAI was created on 14 October, 1905, along the lines of the International Olympic Committee.[187]

14-bis
Illustration of the 14-bis flight on 12 November 1906, which earned Santos Dumont the French Aeroclub Award
14-bis pulled by an donkey during tests

He then built a hybrid machine, the 14-bis or Oiseau de Proie, consolidating his studies of what had been done in aviation until then,[188][AK] finished after two months, at the end of the first half of 1906,[190] an airplane attached to a hydrogen balloon to reduce weight and facilitate takeoff.[AL] For completing the 14-bis,[191] on 18 July Dumont signed up to compete in the events[192] and presented the exotic aircraft for the first time the next day,[166][AM] attached to a balloon,[191] at Bagatelle, where he ran some races, obtaining appreciable jumps.[4][AN] Excited, he decided to apply for the Archdeacon and Aeroclub of France awards the following day, his birthday – he would be 33 – but was immediately discouraged by Captain Ferdinand Ferber, another aviation enthusiast. Ferber had attended the demonstrations and did not like the solution presented by Dumont; he considered the hybrid an impure machine. "Aviation must be solved by aviation!" he declared.[194]

Santos Dumont decided to listen to his colleague's criticism. He would not compete for the prizes with the misto, but even so on 20 July he signed up for the tests and over the next three days continued to test the plane coupled to the balloon, in order to practice steering. Throughout the tests he realized that, although the balloon favored take-off, it made flight difficult.[195] The drag generated was too great. The airship was discarded, and the biplane, finally freed from its light companion, received the name Oiseau de Proie ("Bird of Prey") from the press.[195] The Oiseau de Proie had clearly been inspired by the hydroplane tested by Voisin. Like the water glider, the invention also consisted of a cellular biplane based on the structure created in 1893 by Australian researcher Lawrence Hargrave, which offered good support and rigidity.[196]

The plane was 4 metres high, 10 metres long, and had a span of 12 metres,[197] with a wing area of 50 square metres. The mass of the aircraft was 205 kilograms, without a pilot. The wings were attached to a beam, in front of which lay the rudder, consisting of a cell identical to those of the wings. At the rear end was the propeller, powered by a 24-horsepower Levavasseur engine. The landing gear had two wheels. The pilot stood upright.[195] The 23 September 1906 issue of "Le Sport Universel Illustré" published the technical details of the 14-bis.[163]

On 29 July using the strength of a donkey, Santos Dumont hoisted the Oiseau de Proie by means of a system of cables to the top of a tower[195] 13 metres high (2 metres were stuck in the ground), installed a few days earlier on his property in Neuilly. This frame was very similar to the one Ferber had used at Chalais-Meudon for the May 1905 experiments with the 6-bis. The plane, suspended on a movable hook connected to an inclined steel wire, glided without a propeller 60 metres from the top of the tower to a smaller one, only six metres long, without starting the engine, on the Boulevard de la Seine. The methodical inventor was trying to get a feel for what it would be like to fly an airplane and at the same time to study its center of gravity.[198][193] On 13 September, the 14-bis made a 7-metre test flight,[166] at 8:40 a.m,[191] being praised by La Nature magazine.[199] On the 30 September he interrupted the tests of the 14-Bis to participate in the Gordon Bennett Cup with the Deux Amériques balloon, and abandoned it after suffering an accident, after flying 134 kilometres in 6 hours and 20 minutes.[200] The accident occurred while attempting a maneuver that caused him to have his arm fractured by the engine gear.[201]

Oiseau de Proie II
The flight of the Oiseau de Proie III on the cover of Le Petit Journal, 25 November

On 23 October, Santos Dumont presented himself at Bagatelle with the Oiseau de Proie II, a modification of the original model. The plane had been varnished to reduce the porosity of the fabric and increase lift. The rear wheel had been removed. In the morning he limited himself to maneuvering the airplane across the lawn, until the propeller shaft broke, not being repaired until the afternoon, after which the plane was moved into position for an official attempt. A crowd was present and had expectations with the day's presentation. At 4:45 pm Santos Dumont started the engine.[202]

The race had been completed. More than twice the predetermined distance had been covered. The crewed plane had lifted off into space and sustained itself for 60 metres in mid-air,[166] without taking advantage of headwinds, or using ramps, catapults, slopes, or other devices. The flight had taken place solely by the aircraft's own means, and Europeans at the time believed it was the first such achievement.[203] Brandão, 2018, says that because the Aeroclub Committee was partially present, a new test was scheduled for 12 November.[204]

The crowd celebrated in excitement, ran up to the pilot and carried him off in triumph. The judges had also been overcome with emotion and, surprised, forgot to time and track the flight, and due to the failure the record was not homologated.[118]

"I struggled at first with the greatest difficulties to achieve complete obedience of the airplane. It was like shooting an arrow with the tail forward. On my first flight, after sixty meters, I lost direction and crashed... I didn't stay in the air any longer, not because of the machine's fault, but exclusively my own."

— Santos Dumont.[205]
Oiseau de Proie III
12 November 1906 flight

The airplane was still a very precarious machine. To compete for the French Aeroclub's prize, Santos Dumont inserted between the wings two octagonal surfaces (rudimentary ailerons) with which he hoped to obtain better steering control and created the Oiseau de Proie III.[206] Dumont was a pioneer in implementing the ailerons in his aircraft.[207][AO]

14-Bis after its crash, 1907.

Dumont competed for the award on 12 November 1906,[209] once again in Bagatelle. He did five[AP] public flights that day: one at 10 am, of 40 metres; two others at 10:25 am, of 40 and 60 metres, respectively, when the axle of the right wheel broke. The breakdown was repaired during lunch and Santos Dumont resumed at 4:09 pm. He covered 82.60 metres, surpassing the feat of 23 October, reaching 41.3 km/h.[210] At 4:45 pm, with the day already ending, he took off against the wind and flew 220 metres, for 21 seconds and an average speed of 37.4 km/h,[210] winning the French Aeroclub Award.[AQ] These were the first airplane flights recorded by a film company, Pathé.[212] The Wright Brothers, after learning of the 12 November experiment, sent a letter to Captain Ferdinand Ferber asking for "exact news of the Bagatelle experiments," including "a faithful report of the trials and a description of the flying machine, accompanied by a schematic."[213][AR] Santos Dumont even adopted the configuration proposed by the Wright brothers and placed the rudder at the front of the 14-bis, which he described as "the same as trying to shoot an arrow forward with the tail...". To test the idea that the rudder at the rear increased the angle of incidence of the wings, Dumont built a new aircraft, without abandoning the 14-bis,[214] and tested it in March 1907, without taking off[215] due to a primitive landing gear that did not allow the plane to maneuver off the ground.[216] He returned to the 14-bis having already made other changes to the aircraft after 12 November and on 4 April 1907, at Saint-Cyr, the aircraft flew for 50 metres, crashed, was torn to pieces, and the project was abandoned.[217]

New airplanes
The Demoiselle in flight

He also made the N-15, a biplane, with the rudder behind, as opposed to the canard format,[218] the N-16, a mix of airship and airplane,[AS] the N-17 and the N-18, a waterslide[197][AT] used to test the wing shape underwater.[219] Dissatisfied with the results of numbers 15 to 18, he made a new series, smaller in size and more refined, like the Demoiselle, that was capable of reaching up to 90 kilometres per hour.[32][220] It was first tested in November 1907, returning on an abandoned idea from 1905, but soon realized that the airplane "... had serious structural problems." according to Henrique Lins de Barros.[216] In 1909 he presented the Demoiselle No. 20, improved and considered "the first ultralight in history".[221][AU] This airplane was made with the vision of being specialized in sports competitions and had 300 copies in several European countries and in the United States,[35] and his schemes were published in the June–July 1910 issues of Popular Mechanics.[223] With the inventor's non-commercial purpose, this plane consolidated Dumont's role in the birth of aviation in the 20th century.[224][AV] The Demoiselle also featured an engine of original invention by Santos Dumont[AW] and model Nº20, capable of flights of up to 2 kilometres and reaching 96 km/h,[AX]

The aircraft is on permanent display at the Musée de l'air et de l'espace.[226] In 1908, when the Wright brothers went public, and—according to Mattos—used European technology[173][AY] and his colleagues were already being rewarded, he already seemed to have moved away from the events.[219]

Last years[edit]

Santos-Dumont began to suffer from multiple sclerosis.[228] He aged in appearance and felt too tired to continue competing with new inventors in the various races. However, on 22 August 1909, he attended the Great Aviation Week in Reims, where he made his last flights.[229] After suffering an accident with the Demoiselle on 4 January 1910,[230][226] he closed down his workshop activities and withdrew from social life.[231][AZ] However, he continued to work on popularizing aviation.[232] On 12 November 1910, a monument was unveiled in Bagatelle, and on 4 October 1913, the Icarus monument was unveiled, referring to his winning the Deutsch Prize.[226] On the same day he was promoted to Commander of the Legion of Honour.[233] He even ordered a new Demoiselle in 1913, but there is no evidence that he ever made flights in this aircraft.[153]

In August 1914, France was invaded by the troops of the German Empire. It was the beginning of World War I, so he offered his services to the French Ministry of War.[226] Airplanes began to be used in warfare, first for observation of enemy troops, and later in aerial combat. The aerial combats became more violent, with the use of machine guns and the firing of bombs. From one moment to the next, Santos Dumont saw his dream turn into a nightmare.[234][221] This was where his war of nerves began.[234]

Santos Dumont in 1916 with another aviation pioneer, the Argentinean Eduardo Bradley

Santos Dumont now devoted himself to the study of astronomy, residing in Trouville, near the sea. For this he used several observation devices, which his neighbours thought were spying devices to collaborate with the Germans. He was arrested on this charge. After the incident was cleared up, the French government formally apologized.[234] This made him depressed, considering that he had offered his help to the military.[235] This event led him to destroy all his aeronautical documents.[236]

In 1915, his health worsened and he decided to return to Brazil. In the same year, he took part in the 11th Pan-American Scientific Congress in the United States, dealing with the theme of the use of airplanes as a way to facilitate the relationship between the countries of America.[237][235] In his speech he showed concern about the efficiency of the airplane as a weapon of war, but advocated the creation of a squadron for coastal defense with the words, "Who knows when a European power will threaten an American state?"[238] In the afterword to the historical novel "O Homem com Asas" ("De gevleugelde"), Arthur Japin says that when Dumont returned to Brazil, he "burned all his diaries, letters and drawings."[239] In 1916, he was President of the 1st Pan-American Aronautics Conference in Chile, where he defended the pacific use of the airplane and when he returned to Brazil, passing through Paraná, he suggested the creation of the Iguaçu National Park.[240]

In the book "O Que Eu Vi, O Que Nós Veremos", Dumont transcribed his letters of 1917 to the President of the Republic of the United States of Brazil (the official name of Brazil at the time), about the delay in the military aeronautical industry in Brazil, stressing the need for the installation of military airfields for both the Army and the Navy. He also pointed out that the subject was not treated with due attention, whereas in Europe, the United States and even in South America, in the case of Argentina and Chile, the subject was already widely developed.[241] In the same work he also exposes his ideas which involved the need to prepare human resources in aeronautics, in addition to making the country technologically independent.[220]

Santos Dumont in 1922

Already with the depression that was to accompany him in his last days, he found refuge in Petropolis, where he designed and built his chalet "A Encantada": a house with several creations of his own, such as a high dining table, a hot water shower, and a different staircase, where you can only step on the right foot first. The house currently functions as a museum. In 1918, in this house, he wrote his second work, "O que eu vi, o que nós veremos".[242] He remained there until 1922, when he visited France on a call from friends. He no longer established a fixed place. He spent some time in Paris, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Petrópolis and Cabangu Farm, in his hometown.[234]

In 1922, he decorated Anésia Pinheiro Machado, who, during the commemorations of the centenary of Brazil's independence, made the trip from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo in an airplane.[243] On 14 May he made his last balloon ascent.[235] Before that, in 1920, he had a tomb erected for his parents and himself in the São João Batista Cemetery in Rio de Janeiro. The tomb is a replica of Saint-Cloud's Icarus.[244] Also in 1920, Dumont began his international campaign against the warlike use of aircraft, but without success.[245] On 23 April 1923 he went to Portugal to collect his mother's remains.[235] On 7 June he was awarded the Comendador of Military Order of Saint James of the Sword, in Portugal.[246] On 21 August, he started the construction of his parents' tomb, where a replica of the Icarus of Saint Cloud offered by the French Government was placed, and finally he carried out the transfer of his parents' mortal remains on 23 October.[235] Among his parents' graves, Dumont personally took it upon himself to dig his own.[247]

On 6 November 1924, he was elected Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold II.[235] On 25 January 1925, in order to take care of his health, Santos tries to treat himself with thermal waters "which have plenty of radium," but is unsuccessful. In March, in a letter, Santos describes himself as being "extremely thin, like a skeleton." In a letter dated 29 April Santos complains of noises in his ear.[248] In July, he was hospitalized in Switzerland.[235]

Santos-Dumont's speech in French when being decorated in 1930.

In January 1926, he appealed to the League of Nations, through his friend and ambassador Afrânio de Melo Franco [pt], to stop the use of airplanes as weapons of war.[249] He even offered ten thousand francs to whoever wrote the best piece against the military use of airplanes.[133] Dumont was the first aeronaut to speak out against the warlike use of the airplane.[250]

In May 1927, he was invited by the Aeroclub of France to preside over the banquet in honor of Charles Lindberg for his crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, but he declined the invitation due to his health. He spent some time convalescing in Glion, Switzerland, and then returned to France.[4] Researcher Henrique Lins de Barros describes that "around 1925, he gradually enters a state of almost permanent depression."[251]

On 3 December 1928 he returned to Brazil on the ship "Capitão Arcona".[252] The city of Rio de Janeiro would receive him festively. But the seaplane that was going to make the reception, carrying several professors from the Escola Politécnica, from the Condor Syndikat company, had been baptized with his name, suffered an accident, with no survivors, while flying over the ship where Santos-Dumont was.[133][253] On 10 June 1930, he was decorated by the Aeroclub of France with the title of Grand Officer of the French Legion of Honour.[133][254] His speech was recorded on a sound film.[253]

Death[edit]

Santos Dumont's death certificate.
Last photo of Santos Dumont (right), next to Jorge Dumont and João Fonseca.[255]
Vehicle that transported the body of Santos Dumont in Guarujá, São Paulo.

On 28 October 1930, Santos-Dumont was hospitalized in France, and on 14 April of the following year he wrote his first will.[235] In 1931, he was interned in health homes in Biarritz, and in Orthez, in the south of France. Antonio Prado Júnior [pt], former mayor of Rio de Janeiro (then the capital of Brazil), had been exiled by the 1930 revolution and had gone to France. He found Santos Dumont in a delicate state of health due to his worsening multiple sclerosis, which led him to contact his family and ask his nephew Jorge Dumont Vilares to fetch him from France. Before returning to Brazil, Santos had tried to commit suicide in Europe and then on 3 June 1931, aboard the steamer Lutetia, being prevented by his nephew.[228] On 4 June 1931, he was elected a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.[235] Back in Brazil, they pass through Araxá, in Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and finally settle in Grand Hôtel La Plage, in Guarujá, in May 1932.[256]

Burial of Santos Dumont

In 1932, the Constitutionalist revolution occurred, in which the state of São Paulo rose up against the revolutionary government of Getúlio Vargas. On the 14th, Santos-Dumont wrote a letter in favor of "...constitutional order in the country..."[257] for Governor Pedro de Toledo.[258] However, when talking to professor and friend José de Oliveira Orlandi by phone, Santos-Dumont said: "My God! My God! Is there no way to avoid the bloodshed of brothers? Why did I make this invention which, instead of contributing to the love between men, turns into a cursed weapon of war? I am horrified by these airplanes that are constantly passing over Santos".[258]

The conflict continued, and airplanes attacked Campo de Marte, in São Paulo, on 23 July.[258] Possibly, they flew over Guarujá, and the sight of planes in combat may have caused deep anguish in Santos-Dumont who, that day, taking advantage of his nephew's absence, committed suicide at the age of 59. Decree No. 21,668 established three days of mourning.[235][259] Coroners Roberto Catunda and Angelo Esmolari, who signed his death certificate, recorded the death as a heart attack.[BA] However, the chambermaids who found the body reported that he had hung himself with his tie.[256] But according to Henrique Lins de Barros, for a long time it was forbidden to say that he had committed suicide[261] and that the idea that he committed suicide due to the military use of the airplane would be a legend of the getulista period, as the government sought to mythify him; however, the suicide could overturn this. The real cause would be due to depression and bipolar disorder.[262] The order of the governor Pedro de Toledo, in face of Santos Dumont's death, was: "There will be no investigation, Santos Dumont did not commit suicide".[263]

Santos-Dumont left no descendants or suicide note. His body was buried in São João Batista Cemetery, in Rio de Janeiro, on 21 December 1932, during a storm,[235] under the replica of the Icarus de Saint Cloud, built by Santos Dumont.[263] Physician Walther Haberfield secretly removed his heart during the embalming process[263] and preserved it in formaldehyde.[264] After keeping this a secret for twelve years, he wanted to return it to the Dumont family, who did not accept it. The doctor then donated Santos-Dumont's heart to the Brazilian government. Today the heart is on display at the Air Force Museum in Campo dos Afonsos, Rio de Janeiro.[247]

Legacy and tributes[edit]

Monolith at the site of Santos-Dumont's flight at Bagatelle Gamefield
Monument in Saint-Cloud, France, inaugurated in 1910.[229]

“Several legends were told about our Brazilian friend. They said he had an immense fortune! Well, this fortune was only a remediated situation. But how to explain the gesture of this man who distributed prizes awarded for performances to charitable institutions? In the eyes of the public, these liberalities could only be based on a fabulous fortune. Not at all: Santos Dumont was generosity itself, innate elegance, kindness and righteousness. He gave without counting and without foresight, moved by an irresistible virtue... He left as a legacy nothing but his name engraved in our hearts. Those who knew him could not help but love him.”.


On 25 July 1909, Louis Blériot crossed the English Channel, becoming a hero in France. In a letter, Santos Dumont congratulated Blériot, his friend, with the following words: "This transformation of geography is a victory of air navigation over sea navigation. One day, perhaps, thanks to you, the airplane will cross the Atlantic".[BB] Blériot then replied, "I have done nothing but follow and imitate you. Your name to the aviators is a flag. You are our leader."[266] In honor of this, Blériot's last project was named Blériot 5190|Santos-Dumont.[267]

Throughout his career, Santos-Dumont's image was printed on products, his panama hat and collar were replicated, his balloons were turned into toys, and confectioners paid homage to him with cigar-shaped cakes.[250] In recognition of his achievements, the Aeroclub of France honored him with the construction of two monuments: the first, in 1910, erected on the Bagatelle Gamefield, where he had flown with the Oiseau de Proie, and the second, in 1913, in Saint-Cloud, to commemorate the flight of the airship No. 6, which occurred in 1901.[268] On the occasion of the unveiling of the Saint-Cloud monument - a beautiful and imposing statue of Icarus[231] - one of his long-time friends, the cartoonist Georges Goursat (aka "Sem"), wrote the following lines for the magazine L'Illustration:

Santos Dumont caricature in the American magazine Vanity Fair in 1901
Santos-Dumont's bust at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

"This superb genius of athletic forms, with a grave profile, holding open in the tethers of his arms his wings, rudely wielded like two shields, nobly symbolizes the great work of Santos Dumont: he would evoke in a very inaccurate way the simple, agile, laughing little big man that he is in reality. Dressed in a jacket and very short pants that are always rolled up, covered with a soft hat whose brim is on the other hand always folded back, there is nothing monumental about him. What distinguishes him is his taste for simplification, for geometric shapes, and everything in his appearance denotes this character. He has a passion for precision instruments. Small precision machines are installed on his work table, true jewels of mechanics, which are of no use to him and are only there for the pleasure of having them as knickknacks. There, next to a barometer and a microscope of the latest model, you can see a marine chronometer in its mahogany case. Even on the terrace of his villa stands a splendid telescope, with which he indulges in the fantasy of inspecting the sky. He has a horror of all complication, all ceremony, all pomp. So, what a rude and delicious ordeal for his modesty, this inauguration! I have known him for thirteen years; it was the first time I saw him in top hat and overcoat. And even for this single circumstance – supreme concession to custom – his properly stretched pants covered his astonished boots. Standing at the foot of his own monument, dressed as an official hero, transfixed with embarrassment and clumsiness, he seemed to me like a kind of martyr to glory."[269]

On 31 July 1932 the state decree No. 10,447 changed the name of the town of Palmira, in Minas Gerais, to Santos-Dumont.[270] Law No. 218, of 4 July 1936, declared 23 October to be "aviator's day," in honour of the first flight in history, which took place on this date in 1906, "so that this commemoration will always have a worthy civic, sporting, and cultural celebration, especially in schools, emphasizing the initiative of the remarkable Brazilian Santos-Dumont".[271][272] On 16 October 1936, Rio de Janeiro's first airport, Aeroporto do Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont, was named after him.[273]

Alexandre and Marcos Villares, collateral descendants of Santos Dumont, at the ceremony to name Santos Dumont a national hero in Brasília, 26 July 2006

Law Nº165, dated 5 December 1947, granted him the honorary rank of "lieutenant brigadier".[274] Santos Dumont's birthplace in Cabangu, Minas Gerais, was transformed into the Cabangu Museum by state decree (MG) No. 5,057, 18 July 1956.[275] Law 3636, of 22 September 1959, granted him the honorary rank of "air marshal".[276]

In 1976, the International Astronomical Union paid homage to the Brazilian inventor by putting his name on a lunar crater (27.7°N 4.8°E). He is the only Brazilian holder of this distinction.[277][272] Law 7.243, of 4 November 1984, granted him the title of "Patron of the Brazilian Aeronautics".[278] On 13 October 1997, the then President of the United States, Bill Clinton, visiting Brazil, gave a speech at the Itamaraty Palace, referring to Santos Dumont as the "father of aviation".[279]

On 18 October 2005, the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) signed an agreement to carry out the Missão Centenário, which took Brazilian astronaut Marcos César Pontes to the International Space Station. The mission is a tribute to the centennial of Santos Dumont's flight on the 14 Bis, which took place on 23 October 1906. The launch of the Soyuz TMA-8 spacecraft took place on 30 March 2006, at the Baikonur Launch Center (Kazakhstan).[280][281] On 26 July 2006 his name was included in the Steel Book of National Heroes located in the Panteão da Pátria, in Brasilia, thus granting him the status of National Hero.[282]

Cultural representations[edit]

A postcard of the Santos-Dumont 14-bis

The poet Eduardo das Neves [pt] composed in 1902 the song "A Conquista do Ar" in honor of Dumont's achievements.[283] In 1956, the Brazilian Post Office released a series of stamps commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the first flight of heavier-than-air aircraft.[284] In 1973, the Post Office released a series of stamps to celebrate Santos Dumont's centennial.[285] On 23 October 2006, the Brazilian Post and Telegraph Company launched a commemorative stamp in honor of the centennial of the flight of the 14-bis.[286] In the same month, the Brazilian Central Bank also issued a coin commemorating Santos Dumont's invention.[287] Dumont was also represented on the cruzeiro and cruzeiro novo banknotes.[288]

In 2012, Cartier produced a series of watches named after the Brazilian pilot, celebrating the partnership between the brand and Santos Dumont, responsible for the design that is characteristic of the company to this day; as a publicity piece, an award-winning film was made by France's "Quad Productions France "with digital animation blending into real locations, in which the Brazilian pilot appears interacting with a leopard, the central figure of the piece – entitled L'Odyssée de Cartier.[289][290]

In 2015, author Arthur Japin released the historical novel "De gevleugelde" ("O Homem com Asas, in Brazil), about the aviator's life and death, as well as recreating the events involved in the extraction of his heart.[291][292]

Dumont and the 14-Bis represented in the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics

During the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, held at Maracanã Stadium and shown live to the whole world, a representation of Santos Dumont and his invention, the 14 Bis, had great prominence in the development of the ceremony and in the presentation of Brazil's culture to the world. A replica of the 14 Bis was built in the stadium and, with the help of steel cables, flew over the runway, "taking off" for a flight over the city of Rio de Janeiro.[293]

Santos Dumont has already been portrayed as a character in film, television, and theater, played by Denis Manuel [fr] in Marcel Camus' Les Faucheurs de marguerites (1974);[294] by Cássio Scapin [pt] in the miniseries Um Só Coração (2004);[295] by Daniel de Oliveira in the short film 14-bis [pt] (2006);[296] by Ricardo Napoleão in Denise Stoklos [pt]' play "Mais Pesado que o Ar – Santos Dumont" (1996);[297] and by Henri Lalli in the play Santos Dumont (since 2003).[298] Fernanda Montenegro played a descendant of Santos Dumont in the soap opera Zazá (1997) of which she was a transvestite.[299] TV Brasil produced the program O Teco Teco [pt], in which there is a character named Betinho, in honor of Santos Dumont as a child.[300]

On 10 November 2019, HBO released the miniseries Santos Dumont across Latin America. The production, which references France and Brazil of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, follows the aviator's steps from his childhood in his family's coffee fields in the interior of Minas Gerais and São Paulo (where the family settled), to the sophisticated salons and aeroclubs in Paris, where Alberto Santos Dumont made his famous and historic flight in the 14-Bis in 1906. Actor João Pedro Zappa [pt] played the inventor.[301]

Personal life[edit]

A Encantada[edit]

A Encantada, Santos-Dumont's chalet in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro

In Brazil, in 1918, Santos-Dumont bought a small lot on the side of a hill in the town of Petropolis in the Serra Fluminense mountains, and in 1918 built a small house there filled with imaginative mechanical devices, including an alcohol-heated shower of his own design. The hill was purposely chosen because of its steep slope, as proof that ingenuity could make it possible to build a comfortable house in that unlikely location. After he built it, he used to spend the summer there to escape the heat of Rio de Janeiro, calling it "The Enchanted" because of the Rua do Encanto. The steps of the outside stairs are dug alternately to the right and left, to allow people to climb up comfortably. The house is now a museum.[302]

Sexuality[edit]

The controversy over Santos Dumont's sexuality has long been debated, including by his biographers, since the Brazilian aviator never married and, in addition, always had a well-groomed appearance, refined manners, and was rather shy.[303]

Researcher Henrique Lins de Barros, from the Brazilian Center for Physics Research, rejects the thesis that the Brazilian inventor was homosexual, but that he was just a man concerned with his appearance.[304] According to Barros, "The French refinement sounded like homosexual affectation to American journalists, who described him as effeminate. (...) Hoffman did not understand the customs and values of the time and saw everything with the distorted view that was held at that time in the United States."[305] Also, in his article "Alberto Santos-Dumont: Pioneiro da Aviação," Barros notes that Dumont even had a media-heralded engagement to Edna Powers,[187] daughter of an American millionaire. In addition, Cosme Degenar Drumond, writer of "Alberto Santos-Dumont: Novas Revelações," says that in France Dumont has "a reputation as a conqueror".[306] But recently, Santos Dumont was listed in the list of the "100 VIP homosexuals of Brazil," formulated by anthropologist Luiz Mott, rekindling the discussion regarding the Brazilian aviator's sex life. Santos Dumont's family has repudiated the allegations of the aviator's homosexuality.[307] Santos Dumont allegedly had a homo-affective affair with Georges Goursat in 1901.[308]

Yolanda Penteado, in her autobiography "Tudo em cor de rosa", says: "(...) I met Alberto Santos Dumont, a brother of my uncle Henrique. Seu Alberto, as we called him, came every day for dinner and stayed over, saying it was to see the moon come out. In Flamengo the full moon nights were really beautiful. He was a restless person. I thought it was funny that he gave me so much attention. And Aunt Amalia would say: "Alberto, you are getting dizzy dating this girl". Alberto, in fact, used to court me, bring me chocolates, flowers, take me for walks. The people who knew him best said that when he saw me he became electric".[305]

In 2009, it was published a letter from Santos Dumont to his friend Pedro Guimarães, dated 23 December 1901, in which the former says he is in love with an American woman: "(...) However, my heart is already very much with her... and I don't know what to do, whether to stop the courtship or to continue. It's a very critical position."[309]

Works[edit]

Translations[edit]

  • My Airships (1904) – English
  • Im Reich der Lüfte (1905) – German
  • "Os Meus Balões" (1938). Translated to Portuguese by Arthur de Miranda Bastos.[310]
  • Miaj Balonoj/ Kion Mi Vidis, Kion Ni Vidos (in Esperanto). Translated by Luiz Fernando Dias Pita (1 ed.). Clube de Autores. 2020. ISBN 978-658618206-4.
  • "O Homem Mecânico": published in Portuguese in the work "Os Balões de Santos-Dumont", 2010.[311]

Non published[edit]

  • "L’Homme Mécanique", typescript from 1929.[312]
  • A book of 13 chapters, untitled, addressing aeronautical events of the 18th to 20th centuries.[311]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Bibliography[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Later the name changed to Palmyra and then Santos Dumont in July 1932, by initiative of Oswaldo Henrique Castello Branco[13] and later, to Santos-Dumont[14]
  2. ^ With 60[20] to 96 kilometres of track and seven locomotives.[21]
  3. ^ Medeiros, 2006, says that Dumont only studied at this school between the ages of 10 and 11 (1883–1884).[23]
  4. ^ The first college had a strict disciplinary discipline,[23] while the others allowed a "more individualized teaching", but all were focused on the Brazilian elite.[26]
  5. ^ For the complete quote of what Henrique Dumont said, read O que eu vi, o que nós veremos pages 12–13.[46]
  6. ^ Little is known about Santos Dumont's education in his youth other than an unpublished manuscript shows that he studied the encyclopedias of Fonvielle and Flammarion, knew the history of flight, and held mathematical knowledge.[48] Dumont and other inventors studied the works of Lilienthal and Cayley.[49]
  7. ^ Exacta, 2006: in an interview with Henrique Lins de Barros it is explained how Santos Dumont's practical ability, as "a scientist who was in the proving ground," makes him a practical scientist, also because of the speed at which he advanced his creations in a decade, but it is an idea that has been fading as the importance of theoretical science has increased.[52] However Mattos, 2012, says he was not a scientist, but an "integrator of technologies."[53]
  8. ^ Fortune of 800 contos de réis.[54]
  9. ^ Dumont did not invest in aviation commercially, but he recognized the impact it would have on the economy and its military potential.[56]
  10. ^ According to the book O que eu vi, o que nós veremos, he even looked into taking his first balloon flight shortly after going to study in France, but the price of a thousand francs and having to pay for any damages discouraged him.[58] However, the team from the firm Lacham-bre & Macuhron did not make these demands.[59]
  11. ^ The book O que eu vi, o que nós veremos says it was 250 francs.[59]
  12. ^ Japanese silk, instead of Chinese silk, as was the norm.[63]
  13. ^ In "Brazil" he innovated by testing and experimenting with Japanese silk, creating a lighter balloon, departing from the established tradition of using taffeta or varnished paper.[66]
  14. ^ An example in the United States is how Samuel Langley received $50,000 from the War Department and $20,000 from the Smithsonian Institution for the development of the Aerodrome,[69] launched by a catapult[70] and abandoned after two takeoff accidents on 7 October metreand 8 December 1903.[71] His biggest development was a 50 hp engine, which did not influence the U.S. aviation industry due to the atmosphere of secrecy that the area had in the country.[70]
  15. ^ According to Henrique Lins de Barros, their account suggests that they were left to the mercy of the wind.[75]
  16. ^ Since the 18th century it has been proposed to use the sail, steam engine, "human propulsion" and electric motors, without success. David Schwarz even developed an airship with metal cladding and a combustion engine, but died before he could have tested it.[77]
  17. ^ Henrique Lins de Barros, in an article from 2021, says that this engine was patented by the inventor.[68]
  18. ^ Barros, 2003, says that the first experience only took place in September 1893, but that due to a bad positioning the airship was launched against the treetops.[79]
  19. ^ Mattos, 2012, says that this airship uses the design of Albert and Gaston Tissandier.[69] The use of earlier concepts was something done by Dumont as well as other inventors in France.[88] In one example: already in the age of aviation, The FlightGlobal (1909a) stated that: "The Voisin brothers and their engineer and works manager M. Colliex make no secret of the fact that they have based their work on that of pioneers such as Lilienthal, Langley, and others, and in fact they say they never miss an opportunity of utilizing an information or data on which that can lay hands."[89] This kind of mentality may be due to the French Revolution, but despite the sharing the inventors acted somewhat independently of each other.[56]
  20. ^ The No. 3 was the first aircraft in aviation history to be successfully propelled by a combustion engine.[63]
  21. ^ It is considered to be the world's first hangar, as well as bringing about the invention of sliding doors.[94][95]
  22. ^ Before the N-5 he flew in Fatum, a spherical balloon in which he performed three ascents.[106]
  23. ^ Barros 2021 says that on this day he had an accident, falling "...over the tallest chestnut tree in Mr. Edmond de Rothschild's park""[109]
  24. ^ Dumont faced southeast winds that reached 21km/h at the height of the Eiffel Tower. He reached the tower in 9 minutes traveling at a speed of 36 km/h, passing 10m above the top of the monument and 50m from the lightning rods, describing: "I have always feared, as the gravest of all dangers, going around the Eiffel tower". On going around he had to abandon the controls due to the engine stalling and returned with the engine failing and losing altitude.[116]
  25. ^ This addition to the regulations was only made later, when Dumont was preparing for his new attempt, which led him to take a stand against the decision and announce that he would donate his prize money..[117]
  26. ^ 75,000 francs were donated to the poor through the city hall and the rest was distributed among his staff.[116]
  27. ^ With his success, at least from the first experiences with the N-5, the European media was mistaken about its nationality.[126]
  28. ^ For Edison it would be impossible to patent the airplane due to the amount of research and development that had already been done at the time; therefore, he did not work on it beyond a lightweight, small engine operated by gunpowder.[134]
  29. ^ However, at another point in the same trip, he showed himself willing to accept partnerships and sponsors, which conflicts with the image in France of not accepting help in cash things like that.[135]
  30. ^ The fact that No. 6 was taken to England for an exhibition and possible flights raises the question of how unrecoverable the airship was.[145]
  31. ^ Santos Dumont would represent France at the event.[149]
  32. ^ Santos-Dumont had left the crate with the balloon open after applying a varnish. Carl Meyes, opining that the cuts were made by "a large cordless penknife with the sole perverse purpose of destroying the balloon.", responsible for the proof, offered to fix it. The investigation report partially blamed Santos Dumont, who would have been told to close the crate, as well as hypothesizing that an assistant or Dumont himself would have destroyed the balloon. With all this, he abandoned the competition and returned to France. The competition was won by Augustus Knabenshue, in the "California Arrow" airship, identical to the N-9.[152]
  33. ^ The N-8 served as the model for the first airship designed by an American.[146]
  34. ^ Dumont reportedly abandoned the monoplane in favor of a biplane due to the Voisin brothers' persuasion.[53]
  35. ^ Henrique Lins de Barros' article says that the FAI did not consider that the claims of earlier flights (Ader, Lilienthal, Whitehead and Wrights) satisfied its criteria and that until 1905 there had been "...no actual flight of a heavier-than-air aircraft...".[169] The United States did not come up with its definitions until December 1907.[170] For other definitions, see Brandão, 2018, p.2.[171]
  36. ^ But the canard configuration has been taken over in modern aircraft such as Gripen, Mirage 2000, Eurofighter, Sukhoi because it is now possible to maintain rapid stability control.[175]
  37. ^ Like the canard configuration, Hargrave cells and an appropriate engine.[189]
  38. ^ Mattos, 2012, says that with this Santos Dumont invented the flight test.[53] The image of the 14-bis attached to the balloon is used as a symbol about the experimental flight activities by the Brazilian Air Force, thus making Dumont to be considered a test pilot.[176]
  39. ^ Barros 2021 says that the first experiments of the 14-Bis attached to the balloon took place on 23 July.[193]
  40. ^ About his project, Dumont reported: "I slept for three years and in the month of July 1906 I presented myself on the Bagatelle field with my first apparatus... The question of the airplane had been on the agenda for some years, but I never took part in the discussions, because I have always believed that the inventor must work in silence; extraneous opinions never produce anything good".[188]
  41. ^ In 1906 the Wright brothers were granted a patent for wing-warping, which provided control equivalent to ailerons, and they subsequently sued Glenn Curtiss and European aviators for patent infringement.[208] In France, Henri Farman claimed to have created this technology.[204]
  42. ^ Or four.[210] Or six.[89]
  43. ^ The prize of 1,600 francs was donated to his mechanics.[211]
  44. ^ Ferber had been communicating with the Wrights since 1901, made an unsuccessful motorized copy of one of the brothers' gliders two years later, and published the letters he received from the Wrights in December 1905 as a way to get the French Army to buy their equipment, but most of France's aeronautical community did not believe that the Americans would have succeeded in creating the airplane.[70]
  45. ^ The No. 16 was designed with passenger transportation in mind, something that became a reality through DELAG.[132]
  46. ^ No. 15 and 16 were unsuccessful and No. 17 would not have been tested.[216] Barros 2021 explicitly says that these inventions were abandoned before testing them.[211]
  47. ^ In January 1909 he received his first brevet from the Aeroclub of France.[222] The other airplanes built at the time used the concept of the Demoiselle in some way, whether its configuration or stability,[218] while the Demoiselle itself would have been inspired by the configuration of the Ariel, patented in 1842.[53]
  48. ^ Henrique Lins de Barros, 2006: "He divulged the blueprints of the aircraft and was happy to see that successive versions of his Demoiselle, manufactured in various countries from his specifications, were incorporating improvements and refinements by the builders, which represented, to him, the best spirit of aeronautical research."[221]
  49. ^ An opposed cylinder engine, whose cooling sulution was patented by Dumont. The Demoiselle with a two-cylinder engine became very popular.[225]
  50. ^ On September 16, 1909 Santos Dumont achieved a speed record[223] of 96 km/h (60 mph).[222][220] The Demoiselle could reach over 100 km/h, with which he made the first crossing in the country, between Saint Cyr of the Buc, with stops every 8 kilometres.[225]
  51. ^ According to Mattos, Wilbur Wright's first flights in August 1908 did not impress the European community and only improved after using old world technology in their aircraft (Mattos may be referring to motors built for the Wrights in Europe).[56] Other historians have noted that observers instantly showered Wilbur with praise for his fully-controlled flights, and that his flights in France and Orville's in the U.S. made the brothers world famous. Pioneer French aviator Léon Delagrange, a witness, said of Wilbur's flights, "Nous sommes battus." ("We are beaten.")[227]
  52. ^ Barros 2021 says that Santos-Dumont sold a Demoiselle to Roland Garros in 1910.[223]
  53. ^ Cabangu.com.br says that the death was not registered until 3 December 1955.[260]
  54. ^ The first aviator in the Americas to cross the Atlantic Ocean without support ships and without making stops was the Brazilian João Ribeiro de Barros in 1927.[265] The design of the Demoiselle allegedly influenced the aircraft that Blériot used in his crossing.[225]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Graça Aranha (founder)
Lorbeerkranz.png
Brazilian Academy of Letters – Occupant of the 38th chair

1931–1932
Succeeded by