American Pictures/ Tony Morrison
Rio de Janeiro's downtown Santos Dumont airport is named after the pioneer Brazilians
know as the 'Father of Aviation'. Alberto Santos Dumont was born in Brazil in
1873, but studied and lived in France most of his life. In 1898 he flew the first
motorized airship and in 1906 he was the first man to fly an airplane, the 14
Bis or Oiseau de Proie (Bird of Prey), in public. The Wright brothers had
flown earlier but not in public. Between 1898 and 1909 he designed and built 20
different airships, achieving worldwide acclaim. He died in Brazil in 1932.