If you’re going to AirVenture in Oshkosh this summer, please join us on Friday, August 1, 1000-1145, at the Forum 2 tent for a “World Record Holders Chat” that will feature Arnold along with Gary Hertzler. Gary is the current world record holder for the C-1a closed-course distance record, and he previously held the C-1a straight-line distance world record that Arnold and the E-1 currently hold.
Here is a link to the website for more information about the forum: http://www.eaa.org/eaa/event/World_Record_Holders_Chat?id=184C559A6B8544F48ACBC7049C340336
Both Arnold and Gary will provide short presentations on their respective flights, and then I’ll moderate a discussion in a question and answer format that will include plenty of questions from the audience. The presentation is sure to be both informative and entertaining!
Alberto Santos-Dumont, a wealthy Brazilian coffee heir, set the first official aviation world record in 1906, three years after the Wright Brothers took their inaugural flight. In 1905, even though most airplanes could barely get off the ground, let alone sustain any sort of forward momentum for very long, aviation visionaries founded the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, or FAI, with the stated purpose “to regulate the various aviation meetings and advance the science and sport of Aeronautics.”
Santos-Dumant made his European aeronautical debut in 1901, when he flew a dirigible around the Eiffel tower; on September 13, 1905, he became the first person to fly an airplane in Europe. On November 12, 1906, still in Paris, Santos-Dumant took off in a craft of his own design, the 14-bis, climbed to a lofty fifteen feet above the ground and flew across a field for a distance a little longer than a city block.
Here’s a picture of the airplane.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
He claimed he could have flown farther, but landed early because he feared his propellers might injure the boisterous crowd that cheered him on. Because the FAI had observers present, they recognized his distance of 722 feet in 21 seconds as the first-ever aviation world record. At 26 miles per hour, the record paled when compared to the land vehicle record at the time, 128 miles per hour.
In 1994, the FAI established the Santos-Dumont Gold Airship Award in honor of the aviator’s many accomplishments.
On Monday, May 5, Arnold found out that the EAA has chosen to add the E-1 to the collection at the EAA Museum in Oshkosh. The E-1 is still flyable, so that should make the donation process a lot easier than if we had to tow it to Wisconsin!
The E-1 (Arnold Ebneter personal collection)
We don’t have any details yet on specifics regarding the move of the airplane or when it might be on display — I’ll keep you posted as I learn more!
I think it is very fitting that Arnold learned this good news on May 5 — that day would have been Colleen’s 82nd birthday. I’m sure she is smiling over the news of this wonderful birthday present!