Biography of Famous Pilot Charles A. Lindbergh Part 1

About the famous American Pilot Charles A. Lindbergh, history and biography of his flight across the Atlantic, the Lindbergh baby kidnapping and his pro-Nazi War views.




Charles Lindbergh was not the first man to fly the Atlantic Ocean. That feat had been performed by 78 others before Lindbergh took off on the morning of May 20, 1927, to fly from New York to Paris. But Lindbergh was the first to fly the Atlantic solo, and that act caught the imagination of the world and propelled Lindbergh into a notoriety that lasted beyond his death. In the words of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald: "In the spring of '27 something bright and alien flashed across the sky. A young Minnesotan who seemed to have nothing to do with his generation did a heroic thing, and for a moment people set down their glasses in country clubs and speakeasies and thought of their old best dreams."

Lindbergh's paternal grandfather was a reformist politician who served in the Swedish parliament under the original family name of Mansson. In America, Lindy's own father also became a politician-as a socialist who ran for Congress on the Republican ticket. The father remained in Washington for 10 years, and young Lindbergh often spent time there and played with Teddy Roosevelt's children.

Lindy's father adamantly opposed "big money," and was accused of being pro-German in W.W. I. Lindy had the same accusation made against him prior to W.W. II, but after his successful New York-Paris flight-financed by St. Louis businessmen-he never denounced wealth the way his father did. In fact Lindbergh became associated with various businesses after the Paris flight, serving as consultant and as a member of various boards of directors, and began to build up his own personal wealth.

The flight that propelled Lindbergh into worldwide fame resulted from a $25,000 offer by one Raymond Orteig to the first person to fly the New York-Paris route nonstop.

The flight itself was treacherous and took courage. It lasted 33 1/2 hours, and Lindbergh had gone without sleep for 24 hours before he started. Before leaving, he stored in the plane regular emergency army rations-dried beef, hardtack, albumen, chocolate, a bottle of water-and several sandwiches. As Lindbergh later wrote, "Escorted by motorcycle police, pressmen, aviators, and a handful of onlookers, the slow, wet trip begins. It's more like a funeral procession than the beginning of a flight to Paris." He took off in a modified monoplane built by the Ryan Company in San Diego and named Spirit of St. Louis to honor the businessmen of that city who had financially backed the flight. As it rose from the runway, the plane, weighted down by fuel, hit the ground several times before barely skimming the top of a cluster of trees.

Today Lindbergh's navigational instruments are considered primitive. Most of his flight was made by a kind of dead reckoning, but he made his first European sighting only 2 mi. off course. Upon reaching Paris, after covering 3.610 mi., he arrived at the airport at night and circled it several times to plan his landing. When the plane touched down at Le Bourget airfield, 20,000 enthusiastic fans were there ready to mob him. Lindbergh called the experience with the crowd the most dangerous part of his flight.

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