No. 6
On 1900, petroleum magnate Henri Deutsch de La Meurthe offered a prize of 100,000 francs to the first man who could fly around the Eiffel Tower, taking off and landing at Park Saint-Cloud. This had to be done by the aircraft under its own power and without landing during the flight, all to be completed in no more than 30 minutes. The competition, open between 1 May 1900 and 1 Oct. 1903, became known as the Deutsch Prize.
On 19 October 1901, with the winds across Paris blowing west at 18 km/h, Alberto Santos-Dumont set out to claim the Deutsch Prize and in doing so prove that Man can control his movement across the skies. At 2:30 pm, he ordered: "Let go all!: and airship No. 6 rose in the direction of the Eiffel Tower. Only nine minutes later it circumnavigates the tower but the motor misses and the airship slows down. To restart the failed motor, Santos-Dumont must leave his nacelle and walk along the gondola without the safety of a harness. The motor is again started, but by now he has lost much precious time. However, the field at Saint-Cloud is reached at 29 minutes and 30 seconds later it passes the finish line. One minute later, No. 6 settles onto the ground. Deutsch de La Meurthe proudly crossed the crowded field to congratulate Santos-Dumont on his achievement but the timekeeper announced he had failed by 40 seconds. The disappointed crowd roared, "Give him the prize! Vive le petit Santos!" - Opinion was, he had won, but no prize was awarded. Two weeks later, finally declared victorious, Santos-Dumont rewarded his workers with half the prize and gave the remaining 50,000 francs to the poor of Paris.
Photo and text courtesy of Jean-Pierre Lauwers

  OHIO - 1903
     The Columbus Motor Vehicle Co. in Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. launched the model Santos Dumont automobile for U$ 1,800.
      USAF Museum displays a photo of his balloon-airship number six skirting the Eiffel Tower in the same room where a photo shows the Wright Brothers aircraft being launched by a catapult in 1909.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

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