All pilots know this is an incredibly important week in aviation history. Leading the list was Charles A. Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic. It was a rainy morning on May 20, 1927, when Lindbergh took off from Long Island’s Roosevelt Field. He landed 33.5 hours later at Le Bourget field in Paris, France.
Lindbergh’s plane The Spirit of St. Louis carried so much fuel that it barely cleared the trees at the end of the runway when he took off for Paris at 7:52 a.m. But clear the trees he did and he remained airborne for 3,610 miles, averaging a mere 108 miles per hour. The flight made Lindberg an international hero.
Here’s an interesting footnote to that historic flight: My mother was a teenager working in New York City when she helped throw confetti from her office window several days later, as “Lucky Lindy” starred in a tickertape parade down Broadway. Fewer than 40 years later, Mom watched on live TV as an American astronaut walked on the moon. Imagine the progress those two events represent. What technological miracles we’ve witnessed in our lifetimes!
A mere 12 years after Lindbergh’s miraculous flight, Pan American Airlines began transatlantic passenger and airmail service on May 20, 1939, flying from New York City to Marseilles, France. The cabin actually had bunk beds built in, much like sleeper cars on trains today, so passengers could sleep part of the way across the ocean.
– Chip Wood