Alberto Santos Dumont
July 20 1873 – July 23 1932
A national hero to this day in his native Brazil, Alberto Santos Dumont was one of the very few courageous pioneers who contributed significantly to both lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air flying craft.
On October 19th 1901, Dumont won the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize for successfully rounding the Eiffel tower in a dirigible.
He was often seen around Paris, flying at rooftop level and occasionally setting down at a favorite pub or café to have a drink with awaiting friends.
Some still claim that Dumont flew a powered, heavier-than-air plane even before the wright brothers.
In later years, the victim of Multiple Sclerosis, Dumont ultimately took his own life. He was 59.