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Santos-Dumont 14-bis

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The Santos-Dumont 14-bis.

The Santos-Dumont 14-bis was a biplane invented in the early 1900s by Alberto Santos-Dumont.[1][2] In the fall of 1906, it became the first airplane to fly in Europe.[3]

Santos-Dumont tried several times before he truly managed to fly in the 14-bis. His first attempt in July 1906 did not work. In September, he managed two short hops. In October, the 14-bis flew for 50 meters. That was the first flight that the Aero Club of France ever officially witnessed.[4] In November, he was able to keep the 14-bis in the air for 220 meters, 6 meters up in the air.[3]

According to the Aero Club of France, the 14-bis was 40 feet wide from wingtip to wingtip, 33 feet wide, and weighed 352 pounds. It used an Antoinette engine.[3] It was made out of pine and bamboo with aluminum to keep it together. Its wings were made out of silk cloth.[4]

The 14-bis had three different sets of controls so Alberto Santos-Dumont could steer. Some were tied to his shoulders so that he looked like he was dancing or shaking while in the air.[5]

No one knows where the original 14-bis from the fall of 1906 is now. Experts think Santos-Dumont took it apart and used the pieces to build other airplanes.[5]

Some people, especially in Brazil, believe the 14-bis was the first airplane to fly, before the Wright Brothers' Flyer. The main reason for this is that although the Wright Brothers flew the Flyer at Kitty Hawk in 1903, they did not tell many people about it right away. Europeans saw Alberto Santos-Dumont fly the 14-bis in 1906 before they heard about the Wrights flying the Flyer in 1903. This was because the Wright Brothers hoped to patent their work and make money, so they kept most of their experiments a secret. Alberto Santos Dumont was not trying to make money, so he invited almost anyone who wanted to come watch him work. However, the Wright Brothers did invite witnesses to their first flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903 to watch and take a photograph.[6] By 1906, the Wright Brothers had flown many of their planes many times, for as far as 39 kilometers.[1] Today, most aviation historians believe that the 14-bis was not the first plane to fly.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Was the airplane's inventor Brazilian?". CNN. December 10, 2003. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  2. "Inventors: Alberto Santos-Dumont". To Fly Is Everything. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Highlights in Aviation: Alberto Santos Dumont - Brazil". Smithsonian. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Alberto Santos Dumont". Famous Scientists. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Betina H. Chavanne (November 2006). "In the Museum: The Spirit of Santos-Dumont". Air and Space Magazine. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  6. "No. 2551 FIVE WITNESSES TO HISTORY". University of Houston. Retrieved June 26, 2020.