« Base gets 'Dirty Dozen' anti-award | Main | "How Hybrid Cars Work" »

To Brazil, Orville and Wilbur Were Fly-by-Nights

December marks the centennial of the first flight, but don't expect a celebration here, or anywhere else in Brazil, for that matter.

As Brazilians see it, Orville and Wilbur Wright are not heroes or pioneers, but rather villains and frauds who stole credit for the invention of the airplane from the man after whom this quiet provincial town of 46,000 is named, Alberto Santos- Dumont, a millionaire coffee grower's son and renowned bon vivant who became perhaps the most famous aviator of his day.


He committed suicide at the beach resort of Guaruja on July 23, 1932. Though he had been in and out of sanatoriums and suffered from multiple sclerosis, Brazilians are taught that he hanged himself because he was heartbroken at seeing his invention used in a civil war that was then raging here.

His lionization has intensified since 1973, the centennial of his birth. Brazil was ruled by a military dictatorship then, and the generals used him to heighten nationalist sentiment and garner popular support for their drives to manufacture airplanes and launch satellites, both of which have come to fruition.

Fly here. (registration required)

December 12, 2003 in people, technology | Permalink


This article it's a shame. Millions of Brazilian with their minds controlled to believe that Santos=Dumont made the first fly ? Then the hundreds of French could be controlled too in october of 2006 at Bagatelle Champs when Dumont made the first fly with the 14Bis plane.

Posted by: Mauro Gomes at Sep 1, 2004 10:45:43 AM