Scientist Santos-Dumont, the “Father of Aviation”, is brought to life at an exhibition in São Paulo

This content was published on Jul 20, 2023 – 21:05


SAO PAULO, July 20 (EFE). – With a complete replica of the iconic 14-Bis airship, the city of São Paulo hosts an unprecedented interactive exhibition in honor of the Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont (1873-1932), the “Father of Aviation” whose 150th birthday will be celebrated this Thursday.

The Farol Santander Cultural Center receives until October 15 the exhibition “Santos-Dumont – Poet-Inventor”, which presents the imaginary adventure of launching the flight of October 23, 1906 in Paris, one of the first recorded in history.

Curated by Ceres Storche, the exhibition brings together aspects of the aeronaut’s family life through personal objects, designs, photos, models, videos, life-size versions of the aircraft he designed and built, and interaction with visitors.

Organized by the Ministry of Culture and sponsored by Bank Santander Brasil, the exhibition presents a 14-bis replica and working model of the Demoiselle aircraft, as well as two interactive spaces with flight simulators.

Visitors are greeted at the door by a full-size replica of the 14-Bis – 150 kilograms, 9.6 meters long, 3.72 meters high – built in 2005 by Brazilian pilot Alan José Calassa for the centenary of the first flight celebrated the following year.

The “Brazil” airship and ten models of airships were also shown before the prototype of the aircraft in models by architect Ricardo Martins Jerotto Mendez.

“Santos-Dumont enters the world of aviation from his dream,” Storchi said in a statement. “There is something playful and fairy-tale about ‘once upon a time’ stories (…) every time he flies in his creation.”

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This Thursday, in Brasília, in an action chaired by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the birth of the so-called “Father of Aviation” was also celebrated with a theatrical piece, an acrobatic aerial show and medals awarded in his honor.

The son of a wealthy coffee planter of French descent, Santos-Dumont was a young man interested in the scientific progress of his time, and decided to settle in Paris in 1892, where he worked as an aeronautical engineer, painter, mechanic and pilot.

The 14-Bis was the first heavier-than-air machine to take off and land under its own power, completing a 60-meter flight in seven seconds at a height of three meters in Paris on October 23, 1906.

The pilot repeated the experiment on 12 November, this time with greater success, as records state that he covered about 220 meters in twenty-one seconds at an altitude of six metres.

In 1903, American brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright managed to fly a device on a beach in North Carolina, but they counted in their favor with the fact that it was launched from a hill and did not start from flat ground like the Brazilian. EFE

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