Think about airplanes. Now tell me, what comes to your mind? I bet many readers would agree that high-tech machines and gigantic structures pop up in a colourful parade. Well, here we are to show the other side: how the successful flying history begun.
It’s undeniable that Brazilian people take a stand on defending Santos Dumont as the father of aviation. However, rumour has it, three years before Dumont’s take off flying on his 14Bis in Paris back in 1906, the Wrights Brothers had already conquered the skies. Of course this cannot be confirmed to this day, due to an unfortunate lack of any eye witnesses.
A while later, another gifted man wrote his name on history. Dimitri Sensaud de Lavaud was responsible for the first flight in the whole of South America. It took place in Osasco, country side of São Paulo, in 1910.
The point is: we – Brazilians – may not have invented the airplane, but we have surely played a significant role in the storyline of aviation – and we own this to Embraer. The company, created in August 19 of 1969, had a simple purpose in its early days: to develop defence/military planes, in order to protect the nation. Still, the corporation did much more than that; the engineers developed truly outstanding vehicles (illustrated above).
The pioneer on a line of production was Bandeirante, a fighter. Furthermore, Embraer also produced a training and attack jet, the Xavante. By the time the 70’s decade was over, the corporation launched two more products: Tucano and Brasília.
After 40 years, the leg Defence and Security is no longer the company’s lead business. The stars is the E-jet family: commercial planes with medium capacity. Anyway, fact is that Brazil is more than the soccer country- you can also call us the aviation country.
By Natália Girolamo
Collection of a Dream
Located in São Carlos, the museum “Wings of a Dream” maintain the biggest aeroplanes collection hold by an aviation company.
Having raised in a small city, I wasn’t used to visiting tourist places in my town, actually, I can’t remember a single person I knew that came here to visit, only for business and studies – two Brazilian public universities are here. In 2006 things started to change. TAM, a Brazilian aviation company, opened the museum Wings of a Dream, but only with the rebuilt of the building, in 2008, the museum started to receive a good amount of visitors. According to TAM, until now, over 240.000.000 people have been to the museum. In fact, I heard that Bruce Dikinson was one them.
If Brue Dikinson came all his way to São Carlos – about 250km from São Paulo – the visit must be worth it. The museum it’s about 20 minutes by car from the city downtown. It is located in the TAM unity in São Carlos, where they fix the company’s aeroplanes, so besides the museum you can observe the employees working. On Wednesday the visit is for free, but on Thursdays till Sundays it costs R$ 25 – about twelve dollars –, students and 60+ have 50% discount.
To enter the museum you have to pass through a dark hall that is separated in three parts. The idea of this hall is to simulate the lift off. So, after an automatic door, it feels like you’re entering into the dream of flying. A long room tells the history of this human kind dream, since the first balloon till space ships. It’s fascinating, for me this desire of flying it’s part of our instinct, because liberty is when distances aren’t a limit to our imagination. Especially for us , Brazilians, one of our nation’s heros is Santos Dumont, so, for me, the TAM museum reflects our proud of him and all of the Brazilians that were involved with aviation.
There is just one thing that makes this visit less of a pleasure – at least for me; Tam holds a place in order to present the importance of aviation in wars, and this part of history is shown with sound and images of bombing. It feels like the dream was substituted by the ambition and power, of course that the ability to fly long distances with a machine has a huge economic and cultural impact, but this dream and sensation of liberty just turn into a weapon.
After this hall you enter into an enormous room that keeps over 108 aeroplanes, besides miniatures and objects of important people in Brazilian aviation. For anyone, this would be the best part of the visit, but as a big fan of History I have to say I preferred the first part. However, I was pretty impressed with the quality of the aircrafts, most of them in perfect condition to fly. The war aeroplanes were the ones that captured my attention the most, I couldn’t stop thinking about what that little piece of iron might have been through.
By Daniele Seridório