Alberto Santos Dumont

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Santos Dumont,
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Santos Dumont,

Alberto Santos Dumont was a pioneer in Brazilian aviation. He was the inventor of airplanes and Dirigibles, dedicating his life to aeronautical research and testing. Alberto was the first to successfully combine the internal combustion engine and ballooning, as well as the first to fly a heavier-than-air motor plane. The “Demoiselle No. 19” was the first serially produced airplane in the world. He was a wealthy man who devoted all of his money and attention to inventions. He was the grandson of a French immigrant and the son of a coffee plantation. In his memoirs, he stated that the notion of flying came to him while admiring the beautiful view of the skies on sunny afternoons at the plantation site in Brazil. He was one of the first Parisians to purchase a gasoline-powered automobile, and he was a young man full of passion and energy. He referred to himself as the first “sportsman of the air.” He went to the United States and was invited to meet with President Theodore Roosevelt by the White House. His accomplishments in the realm of aviation garnered him widespread acclaim, and he received numerous important awards, received royalties, and made friends with millionaires and aviation pioneers.

Childhood and Adolescence

Dumont was born on July 22, 1873, as his engineer father’s sixth child. He hailed from a family who owned a coffee plantation in Sao Paulo and was born in Cabangu Farm in Southeast Brazil.

He learned to drive steam tractors and locomotives on his family’s plantation when he was a child. Aside from that, he was a voracious reader who devoured all of Jules Verne’s works.

In Campinas, he studied at Colegio Culto a Ciencia. He went on to Escola de Minas in Ouro Preto, Minas, to further his education. After his father’s paralysis in 1891, his family sold the plantation and relocated to Europe. As a result, Alberto quit the institute and made his way to Paris. When he arrived in Paris, he pursued his studies in physics, chemistry, mechanics, and electrical with the help of a private tutor.

A Career of Alberto Santos Dumont

As a passenger, he took his first balloon journey. He designed his own balloons when he first started flying balloons. In 1898, he sailed his first balloon design, “Bresil.”

Following that, he worked on the creation of “Dirigible” steerable balloons. Rather than drifting with the wind, this sort of balloon can be moved through the air.

He built and flew 11 Dirigibles between 1898 and 1905. Because there was no air traffic control at the time, he used to glide around Paris boulevards in one of his airships at rooftop level.

He had an accident on August 8, 1901, when his Dirigible ran out of hydrogen gas and began to descend. As a result of this, an explosion happened, although he was unharmed by it.

He successfully completed a trip using his Dirigible “Number 6” on October 19, 1901. Due to a last-minute rule modification in the trip’s time, this flight became embroiled in controversy.

He finished designing his first fixed-wing aircraft and a helicopter in 1905. He flew an aircraft the next year, piloting the “14-bis,” a canard biplane that flew at a height of approximately five meters or less. The Aero-Club of France verified this flight as the first of its kind.

The Deutsch-Archdeacon Prize was awarded for the first officially observed flight of more than 25 meters on this expedition.
He flew 220 meters in 21.5 seconds on the 12th of November 1906. The Federation Aeronautique Internationale acknowledged this flight as the first world record.

His unique aircraft designs included adding movable surfaces between the wings to increase lateral stability, as seen in the “14-bis” wing Dihedral, and introducing improved engine power-to-weight ratio techniques, among other things.

He also designed the monoplanes he used for personal transportation, the “Demoiselle.” The “Demoiselle” was controlled by a tail unit that served as an elevator, rudder, and wing warper.

He collaborated with Adolphe Clement’s Clement-Bayard firm to mass-produce “Demoisselle No. 19.” It was the world’s first mass-produced plane. Later on, he built and flew various planes, including the “N21 Demoiselle.”

In 1910, he piloted his final mission, which ended in disaster. Though the cause of the disaster was uncertain, a PBS broadcast blamed it on a snapped wire.

Achievements & Awards

He earned the 100,000 franc Deutsch de la Meurthe Prize in 1901 for becoming the first to fly from Parc Saint Cloud to the Eiffel Tower and back in under 30 minutes.

Personal History and Legacy

In later years of his life, he became a well-known folk hero in his native Brazil. His unusual style of dressing, which included high collared shirts and a Panama hat, was quite popular among the fashionable young of the day.

According to some stories, he was particularly drawn to Aida de Acosta, a married Cuban-American woman. He kept a photograph of this woman on his desk until the end of his life. He had been a bachelor his entire life.

He had double vision and vertigo in 1910, which prevented him from driving or flying. He was also receiving treatment for his multiple sclerosis.

He acquired depressed and later committed suicide as a result of a variety of ailments.
Airports in Rio de Janeiro and Paranagua have been named after him in his honor. His name is also linked to the Brazilian city of Santos Dumont. In Sao Paolo, he is commemorated with the Rodovia Santos Dumont.

Estimated Net Worth

Alberto is one of the wealthiest pilots and is on the list of the most popular pilots. Alberto Santos Dumont has a net worth of $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


In the early twentieth century, this gifted individual played a key part in popularizing wrist watches among males. Louis Cartier created a watch with a leather band that could be worn on the wrist to ease his problem of monitoring his pocket watch during his flight performance.