terça-feira, 7 de junho de 2011

Unsolved History, Santos=Dumont – The accident of Agust 8, 1901

Leia este artigo em Português

This illustration is a picture overview of the August 8, 1901 accident. Next, I will explain how I came to the conclusion that the airship passed over the Hotel Trocadeiro, snagged the involucre on an array of chimneys, pop as a balloon and hung as seen in photos of the day of the accident.

The reports about the most important accident that Santos=Dumont suffered with his dirigible Number 5, which provided the basis for the construction of dirigible No. 6 with the needed modifications to reach the Deutsche prize, never been very clear. That’s why I perform a thorough investigation to ascertain the facts of that fatidic August, 8, which would change the life of Santos=Dumont from that day on.

Did the number five really hit the Hotel Trocadero frontally (as seen in many reconstitution)?
Why have we never seen pictures of the famous buildings in its exact location in Passy?

If I really want to illustrate this sequence, I need to know exactly what happened.

The most important source of reference is in the book "My Airships" written by the Dumont. And no less important are the articles such as the interview he gave to the Republican American newspaper in Springfield October 27, 1901, in which Dumont says "I fell without a great shock" - Le Figaro, August 10 of that year, Le Progres de Dijon, among others.

The second sources of references are the photos of the period.

The third and undoubtedly the coolest one is the research in loco. From the point of view of an illustrator it is very important to check the light and shadow casting to find the exact hour of happenings. Unfortunately I could not get there on August 8 but, on September 4. However this difference in dates is not important enough to result in big differences.


Tough the buildings where most of the photos were taken are no longer there, if you compare the photos taken on that day to others in the near, there are lots of places in common.

In spite of not finding the precise window in which Santos-Dumont sat while he was waiting for the rope, I found the same type of windows in the buildings around Passy.

If we put on the map the description of the fall made by Santos-Dumont will have the following sequence:

- We know that the final destination of the dirigible was the Hotel Trocadero;
- We do not have any photos of the hotel in 1901. But I was sure that it should be next-door to the buildings of Passy. As the airship had been losing altitude it didn’t fall in the upper part of the neighborhood, but at the bottom part, almost to the banks of the Seine.

Analyzing this picture taken from the Upper Passy, we see that the guide rope is being dragged from right to left, and then we know that the airship was moving to the left, toward the Seine.

The conclusion is that the hotel was not on the rue de l'Albon and much less in the Rue des Eaux (as we’ve seen in lots and lots of reconstitutions). But, it was definitely on avenue du Président-Kennedy.

Now that we know for sure the position where the hotel should be, it became much easier to find the buildings of the hotel Trocadero, and attest the exact location of the accident.

Et voit la! This old photo is the proof that we were looking for. It is the view of the Ile des Cygnes taken from the Eiffel Tower. Here we could see the hotel Trocadeiro, "side-by-side with the buildings of the Passy."

Nenhum comentário:

Postar um comentário