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Alberto Santos-Dumont

Newspaper Report, 24 October 1906

 
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Yesterday morning, the machine was carried through the entrance of Bagatelle. After two attempts to start it up, M. Santos-Dumont stopped. In the final try, he said, a couple of screws had worked loose. The repairs take some hours, and the attempted flight is postponed til the afternoon.

By four o'clock everything is ready. A hundred people escort the aeroplane, which is towed from its shed on the Boulevard de la Seine to the field of Bagatelle, through the Trotadores entrance. M. Santos-Dumont examines the machine's flying wires carefully and then, very casually, climbs up to the small basket [ie cockpit]. Meanwhile one of his assistants fixes a pole in the ground, topped by a flag, to indicate the point the brave aeronaut must reach in order to officially qualify for the Archdeacon cup. Santos-Dumont orders the numerous spectators to be moved clear, then puts the propellor in motion and starts his run. For a space of two hundred metres, the three pneumatic wheels that support the device roll along the ground; suddenly, Santos-Dumont points the end of the machine skyward, and the wheels visibly, unambiguously, leave the soil: the aeroplane flies. The whole crowd is stirred. Santos-Dumont seems to fly like some immense bird in a fairy tale. In this manner he covers about fifty metres at a height of some three metres. Attempting to prolong the flight, he makes an adjustment to the nose of the craft, but - alas - in too brusque a movement! The aeroplane sinks

Santos-Dumont, anticipating a touch down, cuts the engine and the machine falls to the ground with a thud. We are among the first ones to run towards the aviator, and help him from the small basket. Smiling, he examines the damage - which may be summarized as a twisted wheel, two broken struts and a broken bamboo pole in the nose.

From The Figaro

In 1918, Santos-Dumont commented on this first successful flight:

"This, my first flight of 60 metres, was always held in doubt by some, who considered it merely a 'hop'. I, however, am convinced in my soul that if I did not stay longer in the air, then it was not the fault of my machine. The fault was mine alone - that I failed to keep her level."
 
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