Santos-Dumont Demoiselle

The Aircraft On Display

The description with the replica states:

In the early 1960's a replica Demoiselle (French for Dragonfly) was built for the film 'Those Magnificient Men in Their Flying Machines' and following completion of filming, the replica was purchased by Ansett Airlines and flown to Australia in one of their aircraft. The machine was was for publicity purposes and displays, and made one or two short flights in the Eastern States. At the request of this museum, the aircraft was loaned to us for the 1978 Historic Air Exhibition and was subsequently displayed in the Museum. In 1984 Ansett Airlines indicated they needed the replica once more and it was returned to them. To fill the gap Mr Frank Matthews, an Ansett Engineer, offered to build another for the Museum, and this is the machine now on display.

Type / History

Manufacturer original: Alberto Santos-Dumont
replica: Frank Matthews, Maddington, WA
Designer Alberto Santos-Dumont
Maiden flight 1909

Alberto Santos-Dumont was one of the "fathers of aviation", constructing the first successful dirigible airship, and also the first aircraft to fly in Europe. (Some claim his was the first to fly, a less-than-acceptable distortion of the known facts).

The Demoiselle was his last aircraft design, and could be said to be the first "homebuilt", since he permitted others to copy his design for their own use. In June 1910, the magazine Popular Mechanics included design drawings of the Demoiselle, stating "This machine is better than any other which has ever been built, for those who wish to reach results with the least possible expense and with a minimum of experimenting." Interestingly, it was controlled using normal tail and rudder, but with roll controlled by the Wright Brothers-patented wing warping.

It is also of interest to record that both the Demoiselle replicas displayed in the Museum were late versions of the copies that Alberto Santos-Dumont always approved.

General Characteristics

General characteristics

Length: 22 ft 5 in (6.83 m)
Wingspan 21 ft 0 in (6.40 m)
Powerplant: original: 30 hp Darracq tin cylinder horizontally opposed water cooled engine
replica: 30hp Aeronca E107A engine
Weight: empty lb ( kg), loaded lb ( kg)


Cruising speed: 98 kph