Saturday, 22 December 2007
Alberto Santos-Dumont,the young plantation owner from Brazil, spent lavishly in building sausage-shaped airships, establishing the first airport, and maintaining a fleet of dirigibles. His first flight was made in 1898 in a cylindrical balloon 80 feet long and propelled by a small gasoline engine suspended in a car below. Releasing gas to make a landing, he averted a catastrophe by signaling a group of boys to pull his collapsing dirigible like a kite by its guide rope as it neared the ground. After two failures he succeeded, in 1901, in circling the Eiffel Tower in Paris despite a strong wind, and won the de la Meurthe 100,000 francs. award for his achievement. For a decade he continued to be a central figure in French aviation, performing a series of spectacular feats with air-ships, and later airplanes, and proving by his accomplishments the practicality of flying.
You can download a paper model of this great looking airship from fiddler's green here: http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/AC/aircraft/Dumont-Airship/airship.php
Thanks to Jim J of the LostWorld yahoo group for the link!