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A. Santos-Dumont

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Brazilian Aviation Pioneer

Born Cabangu, Brazil

July 20, 1873 - July 24, 1932

 

At age 17, Alberto Santos-Dumont was sent to France to receive a technical education. He became fascinated with the subject of aeronautics and in 1898 he made a successful ascent over Paris in the first of many lighter-than-air ships of his own design. In 1901, he captured the much sought after Deutsch Prize for an extended flight over a specified course. Typical of his concern for the less fortunate, he distributed the 100.000 francs prize among the laborers and the poor.

His interests turned to heavier-than-air flight and on November 2, 1906, flying an aircraft of his own design, the 352-pound 14-BIS with a 40 HP motor, he made the first successful powered flight in Europe. This was also the first known use of a wheeled undercarriage on aircraft. Relentless experimenter, he produced a number of successful new aircraft designs, the best known of which was the Demoiselle, the world's first true sports plane produced in 1909. Among his more advanced concepts was a true delta wing some 40 years before its use became common. Serious injury in an aircraft accident in 1910 ended his flying career, but he continued throughout the rest of his life to promote the cause of aviation.

Invested 1967 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame

From "These We Honor," The International Hall of Fame; The San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, CA. 1984


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Updated: March 12, 2004