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History of Flight Online Extra

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Santos-Dumont, in France, Mistakenly Thought His Plane Was First to Fly
Photograph from National Archives

Brazil's Alberto Santos-Dumont, famous in Europe and America in the early 1900s for balloon and dirigible exploits, flew this powered box kite successfully in 1906. The apparent tail (right) was the nose. So little was known about the Wrights' earlier achievements that Paris hailed the diminutive daredevil as the world's first flyer. Another of his planes, the 259-pound (117-kilogram) Demoiselle, was the lightest ever built.

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