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Figuring out exactly who was first to powered flight is surprisingly tricky History records that the Wright brothers launched themselves into the record books at Kitty Hawk in 1903 But they didn’t achieve liftoff unaided: they required a rail track (later a catapult) to get them airborne.
However, in 1906 a Brazilian, Alberto Santos-Dumont, took off from the grounds of Paris’ Château De Bagatelle in an aircraft fitted with a wheeled undercarriage, flying a distance of 60 metres at an average height of five metres before making a controlled – rather than crash – landing. Whether you reference the first achievement or the second as the beginning of heavier-than-air flight may well depend on your country of birth But what is not in dispute is Santos-Dumont’s impact on the history of aviation (He would go on to design and sell the world’s first production aircraft, the diminutive Demoiselle No19) And then. More
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