sexta-feira, 3 de junho de 2011

Why I believe the airship is a commercial success - Alberto Santos=Dumont

leia este artigo em Português

“Inter-ocean” - Chicago, April 20th 1902

This article is very important to understand how Santos–Dumont was a man ahead of his time. Here we could realize that he was well aware about concepts such as Open-source inventions.

Santos had not patented his inventions in order to count on further studies of some other scientists, such as in computer software world, where the source code and certain other rights normally reserved for copyright holders are provided under a software license that permits users to study, change, improve and at times also to distribute the software.

"Nothing is Patented"

Santos was a cosmopolite. He then studied in Paris, many cities of Brazil, London and some other countries, he was able to hold conversations with intellectuals, to attend events of the royalty. His polite personality was many times misunderstood and he was treated with prejudice by American press, which considered him an effeminate man.

This text is also important because it was the first time that the word “Air Port” was used to describe ports used by airships, Santos also invented the word and the concept of “airport”.

“I believe in the practicability of the airship. Not only for the purpose of sport or pleasure, but for commercial purpose as well.
The Airship is here

Why, in ten years I firmly expect that there will be a line of airship crossing the Atlantic ocean at such a rate of speed and in such a degree of comfort that the present-day ocean liners, magnificent as they are, will seem fitted only for freight carriers or people to search of the healthfulness which comes from making a journey on the sea.

The possibilities of the airship have never been dreamed of.

It is here to stay

Three years ago if any one had said that a man would be able to sail an aerial vessel to and from without regard to the wind he would have been called a fool. Yet today I have accomplished such a feat, and this I do not hesitate to say is but the beginning of what I will do.

But do not misunderstand me and imagine that I think only of myself. I hope that every one who is interested in aerial navigation will come to see my ship when it is set up, and that its construction may help them to ideas which in turn may lead to improvements upon this one. Nothing is patented. Every one is free to use for his own any idea or place of mechanism in the Santos-Dumont, as I call my ship.

The speed that airships will achieve in time is so nearly illimitable that I do not care to make my predictions at all regarding it, except that I think 100 miles an hour will be considered a merely ordinary speed. Even now a good airship should be able to make forty miles an hour, and we are still in the infancy of the pursuit. I have made twenty-three miles an hour with my old machine (No.6), and my new one (No. 7) will readily make forty miles an hour or better. A good airship will sail faster than the speediest yachts or ocean liners-fully twice as fast.

As far as the danger of the airship is concerned, I do not think it more hazardous than travelling by rail or steamer. In my airship it is almost impossible to fall swiftly because of the construction. In one of my earlier machines I fell from a height of 600 meters, but I was not injured.

I have brought with me the framework and machinery for the Santos-Dumont No. 7, as I call the next airship I am building, and it will be much larger than any other I have built. It is between 160 and 170 feet long and about twenty-five feet in diameter. These, of course, are the balloon part diminutions. The motor is of forty-five horse power and weights 270 pounds. This ship, I am convinced will carry at least five persons and may be more.

I have never taken any one into the air with me (except, of course, in balloons). But if I try a flight in America I would be glad to do so. I cannot, however, make any flights in America unless there is a sufficiently large prize offered to cover the expenses, for a flight costs several thousand dollars.

Of course when airships become more common the cost, both running and initial, will be greatly decreased. There is certainly vast sums of money in the airship business for any one who will put a few thousand dollars now to promote inventions and arouse more interest. I am confident that there are many men in America who would do this if they once say my ship fly, and for that reason I am particularly anxious to arrange for a flight.

I go back to London in three weeks to run the Santos-Dumont No. 6 in the airship contest during the coming week, but in July I will return to America, and the Santos-Dumont No. 7 will be ready for flight shortly afterward.

I came to America mainly to confer with the directors of St. Louis exposition regarding the conditions they will insist upon in the contest for the $ 200,000 prize at their exposition. I have my own ideas as to the scope of the airship contest at St. Louis, It is not a thing to be handled cheaply, like a museum freak. There should be liberal cash prizes in the first place, because aeronautics is costly, and unless the financial inducements are sufficient inventors will not bestir themselves to bring out the best that is in them.

There should be a good course laid out around the city so that all people may view the contests, whether they attend the exposition or not. Any attempt to make it a sideshow for the fair will fall, as the proper conditions for a fair contest cannot be observed. All these things, of course, are matters to be settled by the exposition authorities, and I have no doubt but that they will handle them in a liberal way.

I hope that some public-spirited American will offer a good prize for an airship competition aside form that planned at St. Louis. This prize should not be less than $50,000, and allow me here to explain why a purse of that amount is essential. A first-class airship and its equipment with the expense of trial will be no inducement for inventors to incur the risk of preparing for the trial.

I do not expect much from my experiments in London during coronation week, as it is a hard city for an aeronaut to navigate, on account of the network of overhead wires. It is in America that I expect the best results. France is too slow. My own country, Brazil, is easily now in the lead in airship matters, but United States is destined to come to the front. New York offers a great and a most severe test to the airship, for its buildings are too tall and so close together thus a perfect machine and a brave man would navigate through them successfully. The entire country also offers a splendid field for the airship by reason of its immense distances, but the great port of world will be New York, I am sure.

The airship is here. It is here to stay and to be rapidly improved upon, and inside of ten years it will be the most common vehicles for travel in sport, in business, and every other way.

Chicago, I understand, is also favorably located for an airship port. I shall stop there on may way back from St. Louis and look it over, and if the conditions are right, I may make some trial trips there with the Santos-Dumont No. 7”.


Santos-Dumont bears his laurels modestly. Yet at times, especially when he talks of his work and what he will do in the future, he has an air of such absolute self-confidence that he seems
May sail in Chicago

almost boastful. Still, a close study of the man shows that he is not boastful. He is simply so absolutely imbued with the convictions of his own theories that he speaks of them with the same confidence that makes the statement that two plus two makes four. When one hears of the wonderful nerve, the coolness in the face of danger, which would appall the stoutest-hearted man in the world, the absolute indifference to risk which this young man has displayed time and again in his flights with his airships, one expects to see a big. Easy, bold-eyed fellow, with a gigantic frame and muscles. The contrast of this ideal to the real Santos-Dumont is so great as to be ridiculous.

Santos, as he prefers to be called, is a little thin, swarthy-skinned chap of 5 feet and maybe 4 or 5 inches. His face would be effeminate were if not for the thick, though closely cropped mustache, which shades his upper lip, and lends strength to his whole face. His chin shows, however, whence he gets the dogged sticktoitiveness, and the wonderful greed which has enabled him to keep on working until at last he has reached his present eminence. The lower jawbone is long and angular, and when he closes it the protrusion of the muscles denoting determination is very pronounced. The roof of his mouth is inclined to protrude also, and his lips are trifle thicker than the average. He is not a handsome man. His teeth are however, beautifully white and regular, and his smile is charming. It spreads all over his face, beginning with his eyes, and as it steals over his features it softens and lightens then delightfully.

Santos talks with an accent, which is just foreign enough to capture the hearth of any girl, abetted by his big black eyes. These are his best features, and tell with his black hair of his Southern origin.

It is his voice, too, which is low and strangely gentle, which somehow conveys the idea of effeminacy, which one cannot help but feel no matter how often one is reminded of his during feats of courage. This effect is added to by a gold bracelet, which Santos wears on his wrist, although his sleeve hides it, except occasionally, when some gesture of the arm shows it for a moment. This is rare, however, for Santos thinks much more than he talks, and talks more than he gestures. This is rather rare in a man of his education and breeding, for he was born in Brazil and educated in Paris. Of one trait, which is practically universal in humanity, he has, to judge from his past life and his talk since he has been in America, not an atom. This is avarice. That he neglects to patent any of his machinery or his ideas in the construction of his inventions is really wonderful in this age of competitive steem.

Santos is the only man who has solved the problem of the navigation of the air, but he is the man without the desire for money.

Santos who is not quite 30 years of age, has been experimenting with airships in Paris since 1897, his training previous to that having been obtained in Brazil. His first ascent was made at Jardin d’Acclimatation on July 4, 1898, and he kept at it continuously, with varying success, until July 12, 1901, when he suddenly attained fame by flying in his machine from the Aero club park, across the Seine to the Longchamps race track, ten times around the track, around the Eiffel Tower, and back to the starting point. His trips since then have been merely corroborative of his success at that time, and undertaken solely can be steered and propelled at will in the atmosphere regardless of wind currents. On October 13, 1901, he won the Deutsch prize of $20,000 for sailing his machine over a prescribed course within the time limit of thirty minutes. Santos gave the money to the poor of Paris, and thus proved that he is not sailing his airship for financial profit.

France is too slow

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