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The "Passarola" of Bartolomeu de Gusmão

The first aircraft known in the world to fly was the Passarola, that has flown 74 years before the famous Montgolfier brothers. The Passarola was an Aerostat, whose technical characteristics are not fully known nowadays. Invented by Bartolomeu de Gusmão, Luso Brazilian priest and scientist from Santos, São Paulo, the Passarola flew in 1709 in Lisbon.

History

Bartolomeu de Gusmão was a priest born in Santos, São Paulo, Brazil. He is was one of the brothers of the Brazilian statesman Alexandre de Gusmão. After starting studying at Universidade de Coimbra in 1705, he started dedicating himself to his two passions Mathematics and Physics.

With the invention of the Passarola, Bartolomeu de Gusmão became one of the most important aeronautical pioneers. He later became known as the "Flying Priest".

This hapenning is depicted by the Portuguese nobel prize of literature - José Saramago in Memorial do Convento.

Passarola characteristics

In spite of the existence of some pictures and depictions, today no one knows the exact technical characteristics of the Passarola, mainly due to the loss of the original projects and documents. It is known that the Passarola was an aerostat heated with hot air. Technically it is believed that the Passarola would have similar characteristics to that of hot air ballon.


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