66 Facts About Alberto Santos-Dumont


Alberto Santos-Dumont designed, built, and flew the first powered airships 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.


Alberto Santos-Dumont 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 at the Bagatelle Gamefield in Paris, taking off unassisted by an external launch system.


Alberto Santos-Dumont is a national hero in Brazil, where it is popularly held that he preceded the Wright brothers in demonstrating a practical aeroplane.


Alberto Santos-Dumont was a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters from 1931 until his suicide in 1932.


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 construction work finished when Alberto Santos-Dumont was 6, and the family moved to Sao Paulo.


Alberto Santos-Dumont was baptised in Valenca at the Matriz de Santa Teresa on 20 February 1877, by Teodoro Teotonio da Silva Carolina.


Alberto Santos-Dumont then attended Colegio Kopke in Sao Paulo, Colegio Morton, and Colegio Menezes Vieira in Rio de Janeiro, and later at the School of Engineering from Minas, without finishing the course.


Alberto Santos-Dumont was not considered an outstanding student, studying only what interested him, and extending his studies independently in his father's library.


Alberto Santos-Dumont saw his first human flight in Sao Paulo at the age of 15, in 1888, when the aeronaut Stanley Spencer ascended in a spherical balloon and parachuted down.


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


At the age of seven Alberto Santos-Dumont was already driving the farm's trains, and at twelve he could operate a locomotive on his own, but the speed achievable on land was not enough for him.


Alberto Santos-Dumont began technical and scientific studies with a professor of Spanish origin named Garcia.


In 1894 Alberto Santos-Dumont travelled to the United States, visiting New York, Chicago, and Boston.


Alberto Santos-Dumont advocated for government investment in aviation development and the importance of public opinion, something previously noted by Julio Cesar Ribeiro de Sousa.


Public demonstrations, such as those performed by Alberto Santos-Dumont, were important in the sceptical academic environment.


Alberto Santos-Dumont modified the engine by putting the two cylinders on top of each other, creating a lightweight 3.5 horsepower unit, which was the first internal combustion engine successfully used in aeronautics.


In 1899, Alberto Santos-Dumont built a new aircraft, No 2, with the same length and similar shape, but a larger diameter of 3.8 metres, increasing the volume to 200 cubic metres.


In September 1899 Alberto Santos-Dumont started the construction of a new elongated airship, the No 3, inflated with lighting gas, 20 metres long and 7.5 metres in diameter, with a capacity of 500 cubic metres.


Alberto Santos-Dumont landed at the exact spot where No 1 had crashed, this time under control.


Alberto Santos-Dumont had a large hangar built at the Saint-Cloud site, large enough to hold No 3 when completely filled, as well as the equipment to make the hydrogen gas.


Alberto Santos-Dumont tried to fly almost every day, demonstrating the reliability and usefulness of his aircraft.


The award encouraged Alberto Santos-Dumont to try faster flights with No 4.


On 13 July 1901, After some experimental outings, Alberto Santos-Dumont competed with No 5 in the Deutsch Award for the first time.


Alberto Santos-Dumont became internationally recognised as the world's greatest aviator and the inventor of the airship.


The prize was then 100,000 francs plus interest, that Alberto Santos-Dumont distributed among his staff and the unemployed and workers in Paris who for some reason had "pawned their tools of labor" with help from the City Hall of Paris.


The American asked Alberto Santos-Dumont to create the Aero Club of the US; when justifying not charging for demonstration flights in St Louis, Alberto Santos-Dumont said: "I am an amateur".


Alberto Santos-Dumont was received at the White House in Washington, DC, by President Theodore Roosevelt and talked to US Navy and Army officials about the possibility of using airships as a defence tool against submarines.


In July 1902, after the creation of the Aeroclub of the US, Alberto Santos-Dumont announced a series of flights in American territory.


Alberto Santos-Dumont left New York in late 1902, without having made any flights, and the American public did not consider his inventions to be practical.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Alberto Santos-Dumont was the only person in the world capable of controlled flight.


In Monaco, after accepting Prince Albert's invitation, Alberto Santos-Dumont guided the construction of a 55 metre long, 10 metre wide and 15 metre high hangar, with doors he designed which weighed 10 tons, on the Boulevard de La Condamine by the sea.


Alberto Santos-Dumont placed himself and his flotilla of three aircraft at the disposal of the government in the event of war, provided it was not against the nations of the Americas and that, "in the impossible event of war between France and Brazil," he considered himself obliged to support his motherland.


Alberto Santos-Dumont's glider differed from Cayley's in size, wing profile, and the fact that it had no movable weight.


Alberto Santos-Dumont began to study the two solutions for heavier-than-air flight.


Alberto Santos-Dumont was not the only one represented by others at the ceremony and only William Grenfell received the diploma personally.


Alberto Santos-Dumont then built a hybrid machine, the 14-bis or Oiseau de Proie, consolidating his studies of what had been done in aviation until then, even without having had experience with gliders, finished after two months, in mid-1906, an aeroplane attached to a hydrogen balloon to assist takeoff.


Ferber had attended the demonstrations and did not like the solution presented by Alberto Santos-Dumont; he considered the hybrid an impure machine.


Alberto Santos-Dumont abandoned it after an accident, having flown 134 kilometres in 6 hours and 20 minutes.


Alberto Santos-Dumont was a pioneer in implementing ailerons in his aircraft.


Alberto Santos-Dumont competed for the award on 12 November 1906, again in Bagatelle.


Alberto Santos-Dumont did five public flights that day: one at 10 am, of 40 metres; two others at 10:25 am, of 40 and 60 metres, when the axle of the right wheel broke.


The damage was repaired during lunch and Alberto Santos-Dumont resumed at 4:09 pm.


Alberto Santos-Dumont returned to the 14-bis having made other changes to the aircraft after 12 November, and on 4 April 1907, at Saint-Cyr, the aircraft flew for 50 metres, oscillated, crashed, and was torn to pieces.


Alberto Santos-Dumont made the No 15, a biplane with a rear-mounted rudder, as opposed to the canard format, the No 16, a mix of airship and aeroplane, No 17 and No 18, a waterslide used to test the wing shape underwater.


Alberto Santos-Dumont ordered a new Demoiselle in 1913, but there is no evidence that he ever flew it.


Alberto Santos-Dumont now devoted himself to the study of astronomy, residing in Trouville, near the sea.


Alberto Santos-Dumont pointed out that Brazil was falling behind Europe, the United States and even Argentina and Chile.


In 1918 Alberto Santos-Dumont bought a small plot of land on the side of a hill in Petropolis in the Serra Fluminense mountains, and built a small house there filled with mechanical devices, including an alcohol-heated shower of his own design.


In 1920, Alberto Santos-Dumont had a tomb erected for his parents and himself in the Sao Joao Batista Cemetery in Rio de Janeiro.


Alberto Santos-Dumont spent time in Paris, Petropolis and Cabangu Farm, in his home town.


Alberto Santos-Dumont offered ten thousand francs to whoever wrote the best piece against the military use of aeroplanes.


Alberto Santos-Dumont was the first aeronaut to speak out against the warlike use of the aeroplane.


Alberto Santos-Dumont spent some time convalescing in Glion, Switzerland, and then returned to France.


On 28 October 1930, Alberto Santos-Dumont was hospitalised in France, and on 14 April 1931 he wrote his first will.


Alberto Santos-Dumont 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.


The order of the governor Pedro de Toledo, following Alberto Santos-Dumont's death, was: "There will be no investigation, Santos Dumont did not commit suicide".


Alberto Santos-Dumont's body was buried in Sao Joao Batista Cemetery, in Rio de Janeiro, on 21 December 1932, during a storm, under the replica of the Icarus de Saint Cloud he had built, after his remains had remained in the Sao Paulo capital for five months.


Alberto Santos-Dumont gave without counting and without foresight, moved by an irresistible virtue.


Alberto Santos-Dumont left as a legacy nothing but his name engraved in our hearts.


Alberto Santos-Dumont has a horror of all complication, all ceremony, all pomp.


Alberto Santos-Dumont is the only South American to be so honoured.


Alberto Santos-Dumont was depicted on the cruzeiro and cruzeiro novo banknotes.


In 2012, Cartier produced a series of watches named after Alberto Santos-Dumont, celebrating the partnership between him and the brand; as a publicity piece, an award-winning film was made by France's Quad Productions entitled "L'Odyssee de Cartier".


The production follows the aviator's steps from childhood in his family's coffee fields Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo, to the sophisticated salons and aeroclubs in Paris, where Alberto Santos-Dumont made his historic flight in the 14-bis in 1906.


Alberto Santos-Dumont allegedly had a homo-affective affair with Georges Goursat in 1901.