So my husband pointed out something the other day… Brazilians believe that they are the inventors of flight. Yes the first flight was not the Wright brothers, as most of the rest of the world is taught in school, but Alberto Santos-Dumont. This is a pretty heated topic, as you can see from this blog post.
Well I LOVE researching things, and after watching my husband and Frank have a nice conversation on this, I knew I had to know… is it all American “history rewriting” or is it Brasil who is rewriting the past?
I found a very very good post on the difference between Santos and the Wright Brothers. I should just post the whole article, and if you are interested it really makes a good argument. But then it points out that the Brazilian mentality doesn’t care about the arguments.
So first off, the history re-writing was done by Brasil:
The rest of the world believes that the Wright Brothers are the first in flight. The Brazilian Vargas dictatorship simply re-wrote some pro-Brazil history because it suited them. “The D.I.P. was in charge of publishing all schoolbooks, and it set a consistent line of singing the praises of Brazil and all things Brazilian. The Vargas dictatorship ended in 1945, but the D.I.P.-influenced schoolbooks endured. The Wright brothers and other aviation pioneers are rarely mentioned.”
- UK: http://firstflight.open.ac.uk/santos/santos.html
- Japan: http://ejje.weblio.jp/content/Wright+brothers
- Thailand: http://forum.mthai.com/view_topic.php?table_id=1&cate_id=34&post_id=56119
- Middle East: http://www.moqatel.com/openshare/Behoth/monshat7/Mdrsa-Bahr/sec01.doc_cvt.htm
And if you want to say it is just American pride wanting to claim flight first. Well, no it’s European pride that refused to recognize a few farm boys from American actually figured out how to fly. They were very willing to accept one of their own wealthy elite. The fact that Cartier personally designed a wrist watch for Santos-Dumand show’s the guy would be considered part of the elite. Thus why, most of the world (for a bit) thought Santos was the first to fly. Per this UK site, it notes that once Europe woke up… they recognized Santos as the first to fly in Europe, but not the first to fly. You’ll notice this site, does accurately give credit to Santos-Dumont for making the wrist watch fashionable, and that his designs were instrumental… because they were. He did great things for aviation.
Now, I do have to point out. I’ve never ever heard of good ole Santos-Dumont. Nor all of the arguments as to why the Wright Brothers were not the first in flight. However, it seems every Brazilian seems to know all of the reasons as to why the Wright Brothers should be degraded as people and as inventors. To the fact that Brasilians seem to be educated on why they are the first in flight, and why the other’s don’t “count,” all I have to say is:
Yeah that’s right Brazil. If Santos-Dumont REALLY was the first in flight, then you wouldn’t have to have to come up with all these arguments as to why the Wright Brothers don’t count, are crummy guys because they kept it in secret, and well just aren’t as cool as Santos-Dumont.
Quick recap on some things I have heard
The Wright Brothers DID NOT ALWAYS use a catapult. A catapult is also used in helping jets take off on short aircraft carrier runways, which is why the Wright Brothers SOMETIMES used a catapult… not all of the time. Sorry folks.
The Wright Brothers were selfish, secretive jerks! Well as Brazil seems to love Apple, let’s use good ole Steve Jobs as an example. Think of the Wrights like Apple. They have this nifty new contraption and they want to make money off of it… because see they’re not rich, they’re trying to make something of themselves and get custom made watches from Cartier. They’re going around trying to sell their Iphone and well if they just opened the doors and let everyone take a peek, then they wouldn’t be the guys who sold the Iphone. No they would be more like the guys who created Linux. They gave the code to everyone and let everyone take a look see. Linux and Apple are not the same thing, and neither one is wrong.. just different.
But in the end, it’s not about who flew first, from the Wright-Brothers.org I think they put it into perspective. The Wright Brothers are the first to have a CONTROLLED flight… which in the end is what really makes flying possible.
To simply say that the Wright Brothers invented the airplane doesn’t begin to describe their many accomplishments. Nor is it especially accurate. The first fixed-wing aircraft — a kite mounted on a stick — was conceived and flown almost a century before Orville and Wilbur made their first flights. The Wrights were first to design and build a flying craft that could be controlled while in the air. Every successful aircraft ever built since, beginning with the 1902 Wright glider, has had controls to roll the wings right or left, pitch the nose up or down, and yaw the nose from side to side. These three controls — roll, pitch, and yaw — let a pilot navigate an airplane in all three dimensions, making it possible to fly from place to place. The entire aerospace business, the largest industry in the world, depends on this simple but brilliant idea. So do spacecraft, submarines, even robots.
If all of the above has completely turned you off, then read this viewpoint that’s a bit more diplomatic about the whole thing: http://aaronkim.wordpress.com/2008/07/17/santos-dumont-the-wright-brothers-and-innovation/