Santos-Dumont 14-bis

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Santos-Dumont 14-bis
14-up at the bottom 14-up at the bottom
Type: Experimental airplane
Design country:

BrazilBrazil Brazil France


Alberto Santos Dumont

First flight:


Number of pieces:


The Santos-Dumont 14-bis is an experimental aircraft that was designed and built by the Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont . The flight from 14 to over 60 meters carried out by Santos-Dumont on October 23, 1906 in the Bois de Boulogne is considered the first officially recognized powered flight .

The Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont had successfully built several airships since 1898 . When, at the end of 1905, Gabriel Voisin showed Santos-Dumont flight notes by Samuel Langley , he began building a fixed-wing aircraft in the winter of 1905/06.


14-bis in flight
Santos-Dumont in the balloon basket that served as the driver's cab, his 14-bis (1906)
Flight of the "14-bis" in July 1906 with airship support.

In 1904, the chairman of the Aéro-Club de France , Ernest Archdeacon , offered a price of 3000 francs for those who made the first powered flight over 25 meters. Santos-Dumont, who had already won the Deutsch de la Meurthe Prize in 1901 for circumnavigating the Eiffel Tower in an airship, took up this challenge from 1905 with the development of the 14-bis .

Although the Wright brothers had already undertaken many powered flights with their Wright Flyers between 1903 and 1905 (including a 38.6 km flight with the Wright Flyer III on October 5, 1905 ), these flight performances remained unknown to the broad European public. That didn't change until August 8, 1908, when Wilbur Wright flew publicly at Le Mans and the Wrights made their flight records and photographs of earlier flights available to the public. Even European experts such as the French Ernest Archdeacon , Gabriel Voisin and Ferdinand Ferber , who had been exchanging letters with the Wrights since 1905, doubted their information until 1908.

The flights of the Romanian Traian Vuia on March 18, 1906 and the Dane Jacob Christian Hansen Ellehammer on September 12, 1906 never found official recognition. Karl Jatho's first flights , which are recorded by some authors for 1903 despite a lack of independent evidence, were not announced until 1928.


The basic construction of the 14-bis was based on experiences made with box kites. Its technical implementation of the machine is a double-decker - pusher propeller - Canard - aircraft . The hull was made of spruce and bamboo and covered with cotton. At the top of the machine was a box-shaped control section angled at 10 degrees, which functioned as both elevator and rudder. The double-decker main wing at the rear was angled in a V-shape. An Antoinette 8V engine with 50 HP (37 kW) served as drive . The pilot stood in front of the main wing and the engine in a balloon basket. The "14-bis" had a wingspan of 9.70 meters and a length of 11.20 meters. It weighed 290 kg and reached a maximum speed of 41.7 km / h.


Flight attempts

Since Santos-Dumont did not want to destroy the flying machine during the first tests, he hung it under his airship No. 14 for test flights on July 19 and August 23, 1906. Hence the name “14-bis” (Eng .: No. 14a).

In combination with the airship, the "14-bis" had a 24-hp Antoinette engine. It was with this engine that the first real flight test was undertaken. On September 13, 1906, the machine flew only 7 m and crashed. Santos-Dumont repaired the machine and replaced the drive with a 50 HP Antoinette motor .

Successful controlled flight

With his airplane 14-bis he succeeded on October 23, 1906 in the Parc de Bagatelle west of the Bois de Boulogne ( 48 ° 52 ′ 5 ″  N , 2 ° 14 ′ 24.2 ″  E ) near the Château de Bagatelle , To carry out a successful controlled motorized flight over 60 meters in the presence of the Commission of the Aéro-Club de France and thus win the prize money of 3,000 francs offered by the Aéro-Club for the first motorized flight with a self-launching aircraft with a distance of more than 25 meters. On November 12th, Santos-Dumont flew 220 meters with the same aircraft and won the prize, endowed with 1500 francs by the Chairman of the Aéro-Club de France, Ernest Archdeacon, for the first powered flight of over 100 meters. At the same time, he set the first official world speed record for land aircraft with 41.292 km / h.

With these flights, Alberto Santos-Dumont was considered the first successful motorized pilot in the world at that time. Santos-Dumont no longer developed the "14-bis" and instead built draft propeller aircraft like the famous Demoiselle .

Technical specifications

Parameter Data
crew 1
length 9.70 m
span 11.20 m
height 3.40 m
Wing area 52 m²
Wing extension
Empty mass
Takeoff mass 290 kg
Top speed 41.7 km / h
Engines an 8-cylinder Antoinette engine , 50 hp

See also


  • Paul Hoffmann: Wings Of Madness: Alberto Santos-Dumont and The Invention of Flight . Harper Collins, 2003
  • N. Winters: Man Flies: The Story of Alberto Santos-Dumont, Master of the Balloon . The Ecco Press, New Jersey 1997
  • A. Clarke: O Homem eo espaço . José Olympio Editora, Rio de Janeiro 1969
  • RS Fleury: Santos Dumont . Melhoramentos, São Paulo no year
  • F. Hippólyto da Costa: Santos-Dumont, história e iconografia . Ministério da Aeronáutica, Natal 1982
  • Instituto Cultural Itaú: Santos-Dumont . São Paulo 1996
  • F. Jorge: As lutas, a glória eo martírio de Santos Dumont . Nova Época Editorial, São Paulo 1973
  • A. Santos-Dumont: O que eu vi, o que nós veremos . Hedra, São Paulo 2000.
  • A. Santos-Dumont: Eu naveguei pelo ar . Nova Fronteira, Rio de Janeiro 2001
  • HD Villares: Quem deu asas ao homem: Alberto Santos-Dumont, sua vida e sua glória . Empresa Gráfica da “Revista dos Tribunais”, São Paulo 1953

Web links

Commons : Santos-Dumont 14-bis  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Picture by Alberto Santos-Dumont in the basket of 14-bis, 1906
  2. ^ Peter Almond, Flying - History of Aviation in Pictures, DuMont monte Verlag Cologne, 2003, ISBN 3-8320-8806-7 ; P. 46