terça-feira, 7 de junho de 2011

Santos=Dumont No5 –The accident of August 8, 1901

Leia este artigo em Português

In the beginning of 1900, the Aéro-Club de France announced the 'Deutsch de la Meurthe' prize of one hundred thousand francs for 'the first flying machine' to complete the round trip from St. Cloud to the Eiffel Tower and back in less than thirty minutes.

Santos=Dumont was performing experiences with his dirigible (The Santos=Dumont No. 5)when he suffered his worst accident ever, it was really a narrow escape from death.

In the book “My Airships” written by Santos=Dumont, he described one of the worst accidents he’d ever suffered:

" And now I come to a terrible day — August 8, 1901. At 6.30 am, I started for the Eiffel Tower again, in the presence of the Scientific Committee of the Aero Club, duly convoked. I turned the goal at the end of nine minutes, and took my way to Saint Cloud. Unfortunately, a precedent accident weakened the spring of an automatic valve and the balloon was losing hydrogen. I ventured to continue. The balloon shrank visibly; to the point that when I reach the fortifications of Paris, near La Muette the ropes attached to the involucre curved upward, so that, the others, close to the propeller, hooked on it in motion.

When I saw the propeller cutting and root them out. I stopped the engine.

The wind was blowing hard, instantly I took the airship by the side of the Eiffel Tower. At the same time, I fell. The gas loss was substantial.

I would have been able to throw out a lot of ballast in order to cushion the fall significantly, but the wind would throw me against the great iron monument. So, I chose to leave the aircraft to go its own way (...)

I fell. And the wind took me to the Eiffel Tower (...)

the rear part of my elongated balloon, which still retains all the gas, hit against a roof at exact moment I was trying to deviate.

The balloon burst with a bang (...)

Like a paper bag full of air, crashed against a wall and explodes, producing a great noise, …my balloon bag, which was not small, made ​​a noise like that, but ... on a large scale. It was completely destroyed…

…in small pieces not bigger than a napkin!


I have escaped by miracle,

Therefore I was hanging by a few strings, part of the balloon, in an uncomfortable and dangerous position,

And then arrived the firemen of Paris to rescue me"

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