The Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont was a very successful airship pioneer. The interest aroused in France with the possibility of heavier-than-air flight -and the important prizes involved- didn’t go unnoticed to Santos-Dumont. Taking a little bit of here and of there technologically, Santos designed his awkward looking “canard” biplane powered by the superb Antoinette engine. With it he became in Oct. 1906 the first to achieve a well-documented unaided sustained heavier-than-air flight, at least n Europe.
Santos Dumont was a conscientious experimenter and before the flight he tested the 14bis in various ways. Initially, as we can see in this photograph taken at the Chateau de Bagatelle, Santos used his airship 14 to take up the 14bis -obvious the reason of its name- in some sort of flight simulation. It proved to be a relative success, but other less hazardous methods were employed later.
By the way, the 14bis was named the “Oiseau de Proie” -“Bird of Prey in English-,….. I’ve always found Santos’ Oiseau resemblance to “Star Treck” Klingon’s “Bird-of-Prey” quite startling.