segunda-feira, 31 de outubro de 2011

The Dirigible Santos=Dumont Number 9 - The most elegant flying machine ever

leia esta matéria em Português

Undoubtedly the Dirigible Santos=Dumont Number 9, also called "La Balladeuse" (the carriage) was the most elegant invention for solo flight.

Santos=Dumont conducted his experiments with style. Trends such as dandy, neo Victorian, steam punk, etc., transformed him in sort of an artist-scientist.

Next, I bring some French and American publications telling about his achievements when he was flying his dirigible Number 9 over the streets of Paris.

- New York Herald June 24, 1903

(You will see that in this text the location of the Santos=Dumont shed is mistakenly located in St. James, when in fact, the true location was in St. Cloud. I put the article as it was written, and I suggest that you may ignore the errors).

"M. Santos-Dumont in his number 9 going for breakfast on the Champs-Elysees.
M. Santos-Dumont Goes in His Number 9 to breakfgast in the Champs-Elysees.
Makes early morning trip from the balloon shed at Neuilly to his residence.


Has constructed landing-stage on his balcony for use on future occasions

M. Santos-Dumont yesterday made an earlier appearing trip in the Santos-Dumont No.9 from his balloon shell at St. James to his residence, No 114 Avenue Chaps-Elysees, where he took breakfast with some friends and then returned to the “starting-point”.

This remarkable ballooning feat formed the subject of a most interesting interview between the aeronaut and a correspondent of the “Français, who found M. Santos Dumont later in the day reading quietly at his balcony at the corner of the rue “Washington” and the avenue des Chaps Elysees. His looking as unconcerned as though he had just returned from a walk.

He stated that he had been desirous for some days of taking a trip over the city but he did not care to take the risk in the small steerable balloon, as it would have been dangerous to travel above the houses with so small an amount of ballast on board. In his No. 9 however, he can carry a greater quantity of ballast, so he decided to make the trip in that balloon.

The weather on Monday had much improved and there was every appearance of the might being a fine one, so M. Santos-Dumont gave orders to his workman to hold themselves in readiness for yesterday morning of about seven or eight o’clock.

The night of Monday turned really beautiful and as chance pulled it, M. Santos-Dumont could not sleep. No he decided to get up much earlier than he had intended. It was three o’clock when he rose, and he immediately put of for the balloon shed, which he reached at four o’clock exactly.

The wind was blowing in the contrary direction to that which he desired to travel and it was no light that he thought, it would not impede the program of the No. 9 to a very great extent.

His workman were all sound asleep when he arrived at the shed, as they were not expecting him until three hours later at the  --- M. Santos-Dumont awoke them, however and they set to work at once on the preparation, which were completed about six o’clock.

All ready.

The automobiles in which the workmen were to follow the balloon were then got out, and all was ready for the start.

M. Santos-Dumont mounted the framework, and the No. 9 sailed into the air, the wind was still very light, and even showed signs of slackening.

There was a slight mist in the air, which was considered a good augury of continuance of fine weather.

The balloon was at first maneuvered in all directions to test the steering apparatus and then a turn was taken towards the Avenue du Bois du Boulogne. M. Santos-Dumont says he had never seen that avenue in such a deserted condition. Not a person was in sight and not another vehicle beyond the two automobiles containing the workman.

The temptation to continue the trip was very great, and M. Santos- Dumont decided to carry it out. He arrived without any difficult at the Arc de Triomphe, his guide-rope trailing along the road, as there was no danger of impeding the traffic under the prevailing conditions.

Round the Arc.

He steered his balloon right round the great monumental arch in order still further to test his steering gear, and the begun his journey along the avenue du Champs Elysees, There almost the same solitude prevailed as in the avenue du Bois although it was then nearly seven o’clock.

Click on the image above to see how Santos=Dumont used the steering apparatus to turn the Dirigible No 9 to the left or to the right

As he approached his residence the streets began to present a more lively appearance. Workmen were going to start their day’s labor, newspaper porters were going to from house to house, and the city watermen had sprinkling the roads.

On arriving the opposite door of his house he recognized some friends, whom he hailed. Then the balloon began to descend and finally aligned exactly before the entrance. The workmen who had followed assisting with the guide-rope.

His Landing Stage.

M. Santos-Dumont explained that later on he would have no need or the services of his workers to assist him in landing at his residence, as he had landing-stage constructed in connection with his balcony and when he arrived home in his balloon it would only be necessary to call up servants. He did not do that yesterday morning as he had not given them notice of his intention.

This landing stage is an excellent arrangement made according to M. Santos-Dumont from the plans given in a book describing the future of aeronautics written by an English author. In this volume a complete system of ballooning is described, which emprises full details of the proper way to land at houses when one is able to steer a balloon. 

Once in his house, M. Santos-Dumont took a light repast with the friends he had hailed in the street, after which he left on his way back to the balloon shed.

Click on the image above to see how Santos=Dumont steer his dirigible Number 9 up and down

At the beginning of the return journey, the wind having meanwhile increased in force, the balloon was directed along the avenue by means of the guide-rope. M. Santos-Dumont himself did not wish to take advantage of this precaution, but his assistants pointed out the danger, and he gave way to their advice.

Once in the Bois, however, the guide-rope was let go, and M. Santos-Dumont resumed his journey, relying on the steering apparatus, and in good time and after a most successful experiment, he arrived at his balloon-shed at St. James.

M. Santos-Dumont is so well satisfied with his experience that he intends shortly to make further trials of the same kind.

Dirigible Number 9 in celebration of July 14, 1903 Long Champ

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