History Documentary hosted by Kathryn Walker and published by PBS in 2007 - English narration
On October 19 1901 the people of Paris turned out by the thousands to watch a dashing impeccably dressed Brazilian-born inventor Alberto Santos-Dumont conquer the skies. His fragile gas-powered balloon made an astounding half-hour flight over the city and around the Eiffel Tower and later he piloted Europe s first ever airplane flight. For a brief moment of glory Santos-Dumont was the toast of Paris and acclaimed around the world. Then eclipsed by the growing fame of the Wright Brothers Santos-Dumont began slipping into illness and depression. During World War I the airplane which he believed to be his own invention became a lethal weapon eventually driving him to despair and suicide. Featuring captivating recreations and replicas of Santos pioneering balloons and airplanes NOVA reveals the daring flights and dramatic life of a neglected genius.