History of aviation – November 4, 1901. On this Monday, November 4, 1901, the scientific commission of the Aero-Club de France, then chaired by Roland Bonaparte, met to debate and finally decide on the awarding of the Deutsch prize. There is indeed a dispute regarding Santos-Dumont’s victory: can he claim the trophy, while there is a point of tension regarding his stopwatch.
Indeed, it was after exactly 30 minutes and 40 seconds of flight that the guide of his aircraft was seized, while the time allotted for the test is 30 minutes maximum. The prize consists, as a reminder, of making a flight from the hills of Saint-Cloud, where the headquarters of the Aero-Club de France is located, to the Eiffel Tower, there, the building must be bypassed, before start the reverse route. The first to succeed in taking on the challenge pockets the sum of 100,000 francs.
To decide on the victory or not of Santos-Dumont, it is necessary to determine when the clock must be precisely stopped: on arrival above the park or when the guideope is caught… The decision of the commission will be in favor of Santos-Dumont, whose victory will be confirmed, thanks to 13 votes for and 9 against, 2 blank ballots being reported.