Talk:Alberto Santos-Dumont

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Former good articleAlberto Santos-Dumont was one of the Engineering and technology good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
March 3, 2006Good article nomineeListed
April 19, 2009Good article reassessmentDelisted
Current status: Delisted good article

Honors and Legacy citation[edit]

Questioning logic why Edited Version was removed --

"It is popularly believed in Brazil that Santos-Dumont preceded the Wright brothers in demonstrating a practical airplane, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.[43] They point to public recognition over chronology; He switched from lighter than air to heavier craft after the Wrights' invention."[1]

-- for making the case the cited footnote actually refutes his legacy. Direct quotes from that very source:

"It's difficult for citizens of the United States to understand why Brazilians are so insistent that he was the first to fly when the very sources they cite seem to prove just the opposite. Brazilians point proudly to the records of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale that show Santos Dumont made his record 722-foot flight in 1906, without disputing the eyewitness accounts that corroborate the Wright brothers report of 852 feet in 1903."

"In 1904 -- a year after the Wright brothers had made their first powered flight-- Santos Dumont turned his attention to heavier-than-air flying. He began with a glider, then built an unsuccessful helicopter in 1905. In 1906, he built a strange-looking flying machine -- a biplane of what the French had begun to call the type du Wright, loosely based on the Wright biplane plans that had been published in several European magazines."

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:17, 8 May 2020 (UTC)[]

You're talking about this edit [1]. The problem is that the source [2] doesn't say anything about "overwhelming evidence", rather it says the very sources [Brazilians] cite seem to prove just the opposite, which is much weaker. Furthermore, a website devoted to the Wright Brothers, though its research does seem high-quality, isn't the best source for this kind of thing. We'll find better sources in time. EEng 19:32, 8 May 2020 (UTC)[]

Error in "Later Years" section[edit]

In this section it is first stated that after the outbreak of war in 1914 .... he burned his papers and moved back to Brazil. It also states that in 1918 he build a new house in Brazil. However later on this section says "In 1928 Santos-Dumont left France to go back to his country of birth." There seems to be a conflict between these two paragraphs within the same section. I have no idea which is right, so I won't change anything. Tøpholm (talk) 00:43, 3 February 2016 (UTC)[]

The Wrights' catapult[edit]

As it is, one very strong Brazilian point of contention is that the Wrights depended on a catapult to make their Flyer take off. Samuel Langley used a catapult, but I have not found non-Brazilian evidence that the Wrights did. Apparently -- I have found printed reference, but have yet to look it up again --, in the early 1900s one American journalist mixed them up and reported of the Wrights using the catapult. If such is the case, it would seem that some of the wind could be driven off the catapult argument. SrAtoz (talk) 16:33, 18 November 2009 (UTC)[]

The Wright Catapults are heavilly documented everywhere, not only in Brazil. Just check US pages about the Wright, and you will see lots of info. However, the Wrights did not use the catapult at first. On Kitty Hawk, they used rails to overcome the sand. Some say that the dunes were used to lay the rail on an inclined fashion, allowing the plane to gain speed through the help of gravity. However, at least once Wilbur mentioned in a telegram that they were able to take off with the rail "laid flat". This day, however, he mentions that there was a significant breeze (head wind).

In 1904, in the Huffman Praire, the Wright Bros. documented several failed attempts to take off using the rail. They also claim about 2 successfull take-offs with significant head wind. By September, they built and started to use the catapult to assist on take off, which they have used from then onwards.

In 1908, the Wright Bros. presented themselves in Europe and tried to set some World Records mantained by the FIA. When they made a 56 minute flight (to the astonished Europeans), the record was denied because of the use of the catapult. It was then that Wilbur removed the track and took off without the catapult and wheels, having his record homologated.

Anyway, this is what is behind some of the comments saying that the Wright Bros could not take-off unassisted, an affirmation I think is correct (in 1903-1905). Because of its low power, it needed assistance of either: The gravity (inclined rails), catapult or WIND.

Nelbr (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 11:38, 14 February 2010 (UTC).[]

By the way, here is a US government link that describes part of what is said above: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:45, 14 February 2010 (UTC)[]

and three years after the Wright Brothers flight of their powered fix wing...he flew. This artical is a fraud and a farce. If you read his history or see videos about him. He stole his engineering and hired people to do his math. He was a guy that worked thighs out in a machine shop using other people's R&D. Today we would just call him a fraud and move on. He Reinvented that was already invented or known. That is why the FAC threw him out. ( (talk) 08:28, 20 April 2013 (UTC)).[]
The Wright's first successful flight DID NOT USE catapults!!! It just used a railway-like wooden runway to launch the plane but it was entirely moved by its engines! There are videos of it so don't try to fool us! (unsigned by ‎ )
Correct: engine only, no catapult on 12/17/1903, but still photos only, no film or video on that date. DonFB (talk) 05:27, 29 October 2017 (UTC)[]

Questions on 1945 Newsreel clip[edit]

Biplanes seen at 29 seconds
Landed biplane seen at 33 seconds

Can anyone provide more details to the description of the video Commons:File:First flights in aviation history.ogg shown at the right? I have added this line for the part relevant to Santos-Dumont:

21 to 32 seconds: man with hat; monoplane landing; two biplanes in flight; "Alberto Santos-Dumont on 13 September 1909, the Brazilian pioneer airman, made the first aeroplane flight in all Europe"


The single engined monoplane at 23 seconds is presumably the same as that seen in flight from 25 to 28 seconds. Which model might it be?
What are the flying biplanes seen at 29 to 30 seconds?
What is the landed biplane at 33 seconds?
Where did the 13 September 1909 flight take place? September 1909 and 1909 in aviation#September have nothing.

Thanks. -84user (talk) 17:48, 27 November 2009 (UTC)[]

Answers: Never too late, eh? So here goes:
Single engine monoplane at 23 sec is the Santos-Dumont Demoiselle, which is shown in flight at 25-28 sec.
Flying biplanes at 29-30 sec appear to be (upper) a Voisin 1907 biplane, or possibly a later model, and (lower) possibly a Wright Model A (with canard).
Landed biplane at 33 sec is decidedly a Wright Flyer, almost certainly a Model A (with forward elevator: the canard). The man at center appears to be Wilbur; man at right appears to be Orville. Location would be Pau, France, or Italy, between January and spring, 1909. Uncertain as to ID of passenger.
Narrator gives incorrect date for first European flight; it was October 23, 1906 by Santos Dumont in Paris (see details in the article of this Talk page). DonFB (talk) 06:28, 29 October 2017 (UTC)[]


I've removed the following addition to the article:

Many consider Orville and Wilbur Wright's parents aviation. What few know is that according to the words of the brothers, only five people attended the your flight (no manifested today) and there is evidence of your flight, according to the brothers. A strange curiosity is that Wilbur called the President of the French aero club, asking for details of the plane 14-bis of Santos-Dumont, in 1908, two years after the flight of the 14-Bis. If the brothers had made a flight because they wanted details of the plane Dumont?
Source: Great-nephew of Santos-Dumont: Antônio Dumont; Brazilian Museum of Inventors; The book "Seis tombos e um pulinho. As aventuras de Santos-Dumont até inventar o 14-bis", VILLARES, Marcos

I'm not entirely sure what the point of this section was, but at the very least the English needs cleaning up. --grummerx (talk) 21:28, 22 January 2010 (UTC)[]

Irrelevant Paragraph[edit]

The following paragraph keeps being added. It has nothing to do with Santos Dumont, it's all about the Wright brothers, and doesn't belong here.

With less fanfare, there was an assisted take off, 10 months earlier, between 26 September and 5 October 1905, when American aviators Orville and Wilbur Wright had completed a series of six dramatic "long flights" ranging from 17 to 38 minutes and 11 to 24 miles (39 km) around the three-quarter mile course over Huffman Prairie, near Dayton, Ohio. Wilbur made the last and longest flight, 24.5 miles (39.4 km) in 38 minutes and 3 seconds, ending with a safe landing when the fuel ran out. The flight was seen by a number of people, including several invited friends, their father Bishop Milton Wright, and neighboring farmers.[2] (talk) 13:08, 21 February 2010 (UTC)[]

It appears that the reason for the statement was to counter many suppositions as to the rival claim of the Wrights. Leave it in place unless you have a consensus for change. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 13:12, 21 February 2010 (UTC).[]


Ferber quote[edit]

I don't see what this contributes to the article. The letter actually claims the rail/catapult system is more pactical because it does not need a large field, and surely the stuff about "two poor mechanics" is just a slightly tongue in cheek excuse. The catapult & rail would not have harder to transport thn the crated aircraft.TheLongTone (talk) 01:36, 30 September 2011 (UTC)[]


If his father was French the soon was too. Since the father was French when he went to Brazil and that it is not possible to loose a French nationality (well, not in theses conditions), the most probable is that the father was French or maybe French-Brazilian, and so was the soon. Most likely Santos Dumont had a dual nationality, that would explain a lot of the story. v_atekor (talk) 07:46, 3 November 2011 (UTC)[]

[removed my remark again. Nerves. Sorry.].Psycho Chicken (talk) 05:47, 12 December 2020 (UTC)[]


I think that Santos-Dumont should probably be described as "Franco-Brazilian". For one thing he came to France with his family at age 17 and lived there the rest of his life (except that last year back in Brazil). For another his father was French. And FWIW it's almost certainly true that if he'd stayed in Brazil he wouldn't have been able to achieve the things he did (no Antionette engines and many other things). I don't know what his citizenship status was though. But I think most any other person in this situation would be hyphenated. I mean, Regina Spektor for instance is described as simply "American" not even "Russian-American", granted she left Russia at age nine rather than 17, but still.

So I made the change. My guess is that it'll be reverted and probably for reasons of Brazilian chauvanism, and its not of earthshaking import so I'm not gonna fight over that, but I'm probably right. Herostratus (talk) 15:27, 19 March 2014 (UTC)[]

you are fully right, not only as described but legally, because he had his father French and then had the French nationality too, even if Brazil do not recognize dual-nationalities (That's the key of the problem... opting for the Brazilian pov only is a pov. The article should present the problem, I think... ) v_atekor (talk) 20:50, 28 October 2014 (UTC)[]
Alberto's father was born in Brazil, although educated in France. Alberto considered himself Brazilian. He actually spent a substantial part of his later life, including 1915-22, in Brazil. I don't think Franco-Brazilian will wash.TheLongTone (talk) 14:51, 19 February 2015 (UTC)[]
Technically, it would have been "Brazilian-French", if he had French nationality, as he was born in Brazil and later became French. If you're born in Brazil and later get American nationality you're an Brazilian-American, not an American-Brazilian, which would be the other way around. Also, in English it seems that the same form of gentilic is used for both the "adjective" (first) and the "main" (second) components, rather than these reduced forms or whatever they're called. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:41, 9 August 2016 (UTC)[]

I believe Santos Dumont was both French and Brazilian. I do not have any specific evidence for that, except that I know that he signed his name as Santos=Dumont, meaning that both names (Santos is a Brazilian name and Dumont is of French origin) had the same importance for him. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nelbr (talkcontribs) 21:18, 23 October 2020 (UTC)[] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nelbr (talkcontribs) 21:22, 23 October 2020 (UTC)[]

Believes and guesses. Wikipedia.Psycho Chicken (talk) 05:48, 12 December 2020 (UTC)[]

Removing comparative section[edit]

There was a whole section consisting of only this phrase: "Aviation historians credit the Wright Brothers with the creation of the first successful heavier-than-air flying machine, able to take off under its own power and capable of sustained and controlled flight." I noticed that it was actually written in a pro-Santos Dumont way before and someone just changed to Wright Brothers and added a different source. I removed the whole section, and the reasons are quite fair. What's the point of having a comparative section that actually just states one side is indisputably right? That was no comparison, only a statement, and a false one, because it implies that all aviation historians credit the Wright Brothers, while actually there are historians crediting Santos Dumont, Ader and many others. The whole point of this discussion is that there is actually no consensus about a clear definition of what is an airplane. Everybody agrees it must be heavier-than-air and human managed, of course, but apart from that there are many possibilities, regarding the taking off process, the maneuverability, etc, as well as the quality of the confirmations (witnessing, photos, film...) of the flight. Enlarging the definition will favor 19th century aviators like Ader and narrow definitions favor Dumont. There is really no point in having a comparative section unless it shows the main arguments for each claim, instead of a statement of a false consensus. (talk) 05:30, 5 February 2015 (UTC)[]

Well done. There is an entire article on this

so there is no need to rehash it here. I edited the original text down since it incorrectly stated that Dumont flew the "first successful heavier-than-air flying machine, able to take off under its own power and capable of sustained and controlled flight" and then presented an unsourced laundry list of claims about the wright brothers. To your point while the original claim is false, you can make it true by adding fixed-wing or witnessed by Aéro-Club de France to it. As you have said it's mostly a controversy of semantics. BlueDingo (talk) 18:38, 9 February 2015 (UTC)[]

Photo of 'No. 6 rounding the Eiffel tower'[edit]

This photograph is not what it is very widely purported to be. It is in fact a photograph of No.5 taken on 13 July 1901, and published in the August 1901 issue of l'Aérophile.TheLongTone (talk) 16:16, 15 February 2015 (UTC)[]


No one is sure if he really commited suicide over the use of aircraft at the 1932 Revolution. It's seen as a myth or a tale... In fact, aircraft had been used widely long before (Alberto was in Europe when the Great War started) for combat and he stood up... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Arcanj106 (talkcontribs) 03:18, 27 March 2015 (UTC)[]

Is hard to know. He already stated have disgust over the user of airplanes as killer machines (like in his 1918 book - but he also said that the Brazilian aeronautics should be well developed as in Europe) and is well know that his health was deteriorating in the later years (an airplane accident that resulted in several deaths during a party in his homage made the things even worse. Erick Soares3 (talk) 14:31, 13 July 2019 (UTC)[]
Article about the airplane accident in Portuguese. Erick Soares3 (talk) 15:29, 14 July 2019 (UTC)[]


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Removal of "popularly held that he preceded the Wright brothers"[edit]

The reason I removed this is not because it was unsourced, but because it appears exclusively in the lead and not in the body of the article. The purpose of the lead is to summarize the body of the article, and as such it should not contain information that is not present in the body. I would have no objection to the sentence were there a section in the body of the article discussing (and rebutting with the consensus view, as the cited source does and due weight would have us do) the statement being made. I believe a section like this once existed, but was deleted at some point. Until such a section exists in the body however, it bears no mentioning in the lead. UnequivocalAmbivalence (talk) 04:10, 31 August 2018 (UTC)[]

Feel free to add such a section. In the meantime, an article on Santos Dumont that omits this basic fact would be an absurdity. EEng 04:18, 31 August 2018 (UTC)[]
This tidbit about his relationship to the Wright Brothers is literally the only reason I've ever even heard of him (talk) 07:10, 31 March 2019 (UTC)[]
@ A lot of people in Brazil only know about the Wright Brothers because of that, too. Erick Soares3 (talk) 14:23, 13 July 2019 (UTC)[]


Hey, Herostratus, I happened to notice you above. For quite some time I've been meaning to expand this article, and I've got the following on my shelf:

  • Alberto Santos-Dumont Barros, Henrique Lins de. 1986.
  • Santos-Dumont and the conquest of the air, tr. by Luiz Victor Le Cocq d'Oliveira. Napoleão, Aluízio, 1945.
  • Santos-Dumont; a study in obsession. Wykeham, Peter. 1962
  • Man flies : the story of Alberto Santos-Dumont, master of the balloon, conqueror of the air / Nancy Winters. 1998.
  • Wings of madness : Alberto Santos-Dumont and the invention of flight / Paul Hoffman 2003

Are you interested in making a push on this? It will take some real work. Of course, anyone else watching who wants to help, please speak up. EEng 15:45, 13 July 2019 (UTC)[]

Uh jeez what kind of shelf do you have? I've got nothing here. But anything I can do, sure, this person was very important. Herostratus (talk) 20:13, 13 July 2019 (UTC)[]
I've had these books for a year+ (libraries are very accommodating now -- they seem gratified anyone wants books at all these days) but I never have got up the fortitude to get started. Several of the above are full-length bios so it will take some investment of time. I thought that by semi-committing myself with someone else (i.e. you) that might get me off my butt. I'll be back in touch sometime in the next 1 to 10 months. Perhaps in the meantime you could poke around for additional images? EEng 20:22, 13 July 2019 (UTC)[]
@EEng: I extracted a lot of images from the book My Airships for use in the Wikisource. Maybe it may help? Soon I should read again the book "Wings of Madness" to work in the Portuguese article. Erick Soares3 (talk) 15:27, 14 July 2019 (UTC)[]
Wow, those are great! One thing that would be nice to have, though, is a picture of the interior of his Petropolis house; we've already got an exterior shot. EEng 16:23, 14 July 2019 (UTC)[]
@EEng: I found some interior shoots in Flickr, but they are copyrighted and this one in Creative Commons. I saw some and they show parts of the place and things from the exposition (like this 14-Bis replica). Sadly I don't live near the place to take some pictures. May you help with the transcription of "My Airships"? I bet that this book will help the article. Here's the Portuguese article about his house. I'm thinking about translating some related articles about him in English (already did this one). Erick Soares3 (talk) 22:24, 14 July 2019 (UTC)[]
Well maybe someone watching here will be inspired to take some photos on a visit someday. What do you mean by help with the transcription of "My Airships"? If you mean translation, unfortunately I don't speak Portuguese. The "SD explaining" moving pictures are wonderful to see. EEng 23:48, 14 July 2019 (UTC)[]
@EEng:, I mean transcription! The book was first released in French and then in English during 1904 (only in the 80s in Portuguese) and you can work in the transcription here in Wikisource (only exist in Portuguese this 1918 book). You click in a page and then make the txt look exactly what is shown in the original archive in the right (if you need images, you just need to get them in the Commons). Is quite easy, but is a lot of pages (then, need a lot of work). There's already people working in the French and German versions. The "SD explaining" "video" are really wonderful! I recently found about this discovery and I'm impressed by the quality. What more wonderful things could be "lost"/stored in some dark corner in the world museums? Erick Soares3 (talk) 00:21, 15 July 2019 (UTC)[]
Note that there's a Gutenberg transcription already [3]. I look forward to working with you. EEng 00:29, 15 July 2019 (UTC)[]
@EEng: I know, but for me the Wikisource helps more to insert the images in the right place. May you share the author page with anyone you know that likes the subject and may want to help? Anyway, this book should help to expand the page and if you're ok reading Google Translated text, the Portuguese one should be useful. I'm looking forward to working with you too! Erick Soares3 (talk) 01:13, 15 July 2019 (UTC)[]
Good luck to the both of you. There seems to be very7 little about concerning his later life. And there is , I believe, nothing more in My Airships that can be added to the article.TheLongTone (talk) 13:24, 15 July 2019 (UTC)[]
@TheLongTone:, there's this HBO miniseries that looks going to be very correct with his history. The episodes 5 and 6 should depict his later life and the episode 1 looked very realistic side with his biography. Erick Soares3 (talk) 19:33, 12 November 2019 (UTC)[]
Well, I've still got this article on my to-do list, but it's going to be some months at least before I can start. It doesn't look like the HBO series is available (yet) in the US, and I need to say in advance that though it looks quite good, we don't use productions like that as sources -- they take too many liberties. EEng 19:56, 12 November 2019 (UTC)[]
10 months and 1 ongoing pandemic later, the sources radiate mute rebuke from a bookshelf in my bedroom, and my good intentions remain. EEng 19:04, 9 September 2020 (UTC)[]
@EEng:, I just sent a message in your talk page! Erick Soares3 (talk) 01:30, 27 April 2021 (UTC)[]