2 of my students who don't know each other both told me within the last month that the Wright brothers didn't invent the first airplane. They told me that it was a Brazilian named Alberto Santos-Dumont, living in Paris, who indeed flew the first plane. One of them said that everyone talks about the Wright brothers being the inventors because they are from the US and "everyone" wants the inventors to be from the US (whoever "everyone" is).
So I decided to look it up on Wikipedia to see what facts are listed on there. Here is the clip about Alberto Santos-Dumont:
Alberto Santos-Dumont, Brazil — October 23, 1906
the "14 Bis" at Bagatelle field, Paris. Aero Club of France certified the distance of 60 meters (197 ft); height was about 2-3 meters (6-10 ft). Winner of the Archdeacon Prize for first official flight of more than 25 meters. Described by some scholars as the first "sportsman of the air". As reported in previous years and months for Ader, Whitehead, Pearse, Jatho and Vuia, the 14-Bis flew and landed without a rail, catapult, or the presence of high winds, propelled by its own (internal combustion) engine.
And here is what they say about the Wright brothers:
Orville & Wilbur Wright, United States — December 17, 1903
First recorded controlled, powered, sustained heavier than air flight, in Wright Flyer. In the day's fourth flight, Wilbur Wright flew 279 meters (852 ft) in 59 seconds. First three flights were approximately 120, 175, and 200 ft (61 m), respectively. The Wrights laid particular stress on fully and accurately describing all the requirements for controlled, powered flight and put them into use in an aircraft which took off from a level launching rail, with the aid of a headwind to achieve sufficient airspeed before reaching the end of the rail.
The date of the Wright brothers is in fact after the date of Alberto Santos-Dumont. So what do you think? Who really invented the airplane? Can we give credit to a Brazilian for our ability to fly around the world?