Santos-Dumont at the Olympics. But patents establish who was first.
Sports.yahoo wrote of the mention of Santos-Dumont during the opening ceremonies at the Olympics:
Ask any American who invented the airplane and they would say the Wright brothers, but Brazilians would have a different answer. In the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics on Friday, Brazil continued that claim by honoring Alberto Santos-Dumont, the man they credit with the invention.
In 1906, Santos-Dumont flew his plane on the outskirts of France and was recognized around Europe as the creator of the airplane. But Orville and Wilbur Wright later proved that their first flight came three years earlier in 1903.
The Santos-Dumont flight was on On 23 October 1906.
The Wright Brothers patent US 821,393 issued, and was publicly available, on May 22, 1906. It was directed to three-dimensional control in a flying machine, Claim 1 is directed to a normally flat aeroplane in a flying machine with certain properties.
The famous Wright flight was Dec. 17, 1903, and many flights were made in 1904 and 1905.
The Santos-Dumont 14-bis airplane was modified to add ailerons in late 1906, though it was never fully controllable in flight, likely due to its unconventional surfaces arrangement.
As the Wrights noted many times, the issue was creating controlled flight.