Santos-Dumont Demoiselle (No.20)

The Demoiselle pictured above (now in the Musée de l'Air, Paris) was given by Santos-Dumont to his manufacturers to act as a model for future production. It is powered by a two-cylinder horizontally opposed Dutheil-Chaimers 25hp engine. Note the curved radiator tubes attached to the underside of the wings, the carburettor immediately behind the propeller and the large cut-outs on the wing leading edges to provide clearance for the propeller.

The Demoiselle was effectively the 'grandfather' of all modern light aeroplanes. It enjoyed a brief popularity among enthusiasts and sportsmen in 1909 and 1910. But it proved a difficult aeroplane to fly and it was superceded by the better Voisin and Bleriot XI.

This description of the 'quirky' Demoiselle comes from The Aero, July 1910:

Nothing so excruciatingly funny as the action of this machine has ever been seen at any aviation ground. The little two-cylinder engine pops away with a sound like the frantic drawing of ginger beer corks; the machine scutters along the ground with its tail well up; then down comes the tail suddenly and seems to slap the ground while the front jumps up, and all the spectators rock with laughter. The whole attitude and the jerky action of the machine suggest a grasshopper in a furious rage, and the impression is intensified when it comes down, as it did twice on Wednesday, in long grass, burying its head in the ground in its temper [ie nosing over in the long grass].

See the 'action' of the Demoiselle for yourself on film!
Engine: Dutheil-Chaimers or Darracq 25hp
Span: 16 ft, 8 in.
Length: 26 ft, 2 in.
Weight: 242 lb with pilot!
Demoiselle in flight

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