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History history n. A record or narrative description of past events and times.

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Old 07-12-2012, 01:36 AM
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DavidOH Male DavidOH is offline
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Cool The French Never Change.

The "witch hunt" on Lance Armstrong reminded me of a story I had read long ago. I found the story in a book on airships. It was the story of Brazilian born Santos Dumont.

Alberto Santos-Dumont enjoyed his time in Paris. He continued his education in engineering and built airships. Being the son of a wealthy coffee plantation owner he could afford all that Paris had to offer.
In the middle of the industrial revolution technology and invention was the rage of the day.

In April of 1900 the petrolium giant the Deutsch de la Meurthe offered a prize of 100k francs. To win this prize one had only to piolet a flying machine from the airfield the Parc Saint Cloud around the Eiffel Tower and back to the field in less than thirty minutes.

Santos-Dumont designed and built another airship to make this attempt. After a number of trys and another new design his airship number 6 made the trip. Crossing the finish line in 29 minutes and 30 seconds he was congratulated with a win. That win quickly faded into controversy because of a last minute rule change.

The prize was denied him for two weeks until the bad press and public outcry forced the committee to hand over the his winnings.

Now we see in the news that the French are AGAIN trying to deny giving a prize to anyone that is not French. If someone other than a Frenchman wins, they change the rules!
Hopefully Armstong will prevail over the numerous aligations and accusations, but even after a century since the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize has passed don't expect the French to change.
__________________________________________________ _________

For what it's worth you should also know that Santos-Dumont donated his prize to his crew and to the poor of Paris.
I think he did that just to piss off the snobish judges that said he did not win.

The rest I'll let you read from Wikipedia:

Deutsch de la Meurthe prize
In April 1900, Henri offered the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize, also simply known as the Deutsch prize, of 100,000 francs to the first machine capable of flying a round trip from the Parc Saint Cloud to the Eiffel Tower in Paris and back in less than thirty minutes. The winner of the prize needed to maintain an average ground speed of at least 22 km/h (14 mph) to cover the round trip distance of 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) in the allotted time. The prize was to be available from May 1, 1900 to October 1, 1903.[6]

To win the prize, Alberto Santos-Dumont decided to build a balloon bigger than his earlier craft, the dirigible Number 5. On August 8, 1901 during one of his attempts, his dirigible lost hydrogen gas. It started to descend and was unable to clear the roof of the Trocadero Hotel. A large explosion was then heard. Santos-Dumont survived the explosion and was left hanging in a basket from the side of the hotel. With the help of the crowd he climbed to the roof without injury.

On October 19, 1901, after several attempts and trials, Santos-Dumont launched his Number 6 airship at 2:30 pm. After only nine minutes of flight, Santos-Dumont had rounded the Eiffel Tower, but then suffered an engine failure. To restart the engine, he had to climb back over the gondola rail without a safety harness. The attempt was successful, and he crossed the finish line in 29 minutes 30 seconds. Deutsch de La Meurthe immediately congratulated Santos-Dumont, but quickly a controversy broke out around a last minute rule change regarding the precise timing of the flight, and the timekeeper announced that the flight had failed the time limits by 40 seconds.[6]

There was much public outcry from the crowds watching the flight, as well as comment in the press, but initially the prize was not awarded. Finally, after two weeks of vacillating by the committee of officials, Santos-Dumont was awarded the prize as well as the prize money of 100,000 francs. In a charitable gesture, he gave half the prize to his crew and then donated the other half to the poor of Paris.[6]

Last edited by DavidOH; 07-12-2012 at 09:58 PM.
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