Step off Alberto Santos-Dumont, you are about to be debunked in D-town for the good of your nation.
Leandro Narloch, a myth-busting Brazilian journalist and author, will be in town Thursday to research and film his upcoming 8-part series for the History Channel in Brazil.
Narloch devoted a chapter of his 2009 bestselling book, "The Politically Incorrect Guide To The History Of Brazil," to debunking the claim that it was Santos-Dumont and not Dayton’s Wright Brothers to first achieve powered flight.
Timothy R. Gaffney, a Dayton-based aviation expert and the communications director for the National Aviation Heritage Alliance, said Narloch will visit sites related to the Wright Brothers, including the restored 1905 Wright Flyer III at Dayton History’s Carillon Historical Park, the Wright State University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives and Wright B Flyer Inc.
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WHY THE MYTH?
Gaffney said many doubted the Dayton Wright Brothers’ 1903 claim to first flight because they had not done so publicly.
The Wright Brothers’ historic first flight was in Kitty Hawk, N.C. in 1903, but Santos-Dumont captured headlines and the hearts of his country in 1906.
The reason: his flight was witnessed by the public.
The world’s admiration rightly shifted to Orville and Wilbur Wright when they started making public flights, Gaffney said.
It was clear that the Wrights had mastered flight.
Wilbur Wright made one of his first public flights at the Hunaudières racetrack in Le Mans, France in August of 1908.
“It just stunned Europe,” Gaffney said. “He was doing flying no one else had seen.”
Orville Wright made his historic flights for Army observers in Fort Myer, Virginia that September.
BRAZIL GOT IT
The world praised the Wrights, but Brazil never accepted the memo.
“When you are in Brazil it is Santos-Dumont,” Gaffney said. “In Brazil, they continue to claim Alberto Santos-Dumont as a national hero.”
Many Brazilians have never heard of the Wrights.
The country caused a stir during the 2016 Olympics in Rio when its opening ceremonies featured a tribute to Santos-Dumont.
Gaffney said that it is all shameful because Santos-Dumont’s work was praiseworthy.
“He deserves a place in history for what he did do, but he was not the first to fly.”
Brazil is not the only place trying to steal the Wrights thunder.