Dallas, Texas - Children all over the world will have the opportunity to learn, first hand, about the monumental accomplishments of Charles Lindbergh when businessman and pilot Bill Signs recreates the history making flight. Friendship Flight '97 will celebrate the 70th anniversary of Lindbergh's flight by departing exactly 70 years to the minute from each stop that Lindbergh made throughout the 6,082 mile expedition.

Friendship Flight '97 will lift off from San Diego, California, at 4:55 p.m. (PDT) on May 10, 1997, and will follow Lindbergh's itinerary by first stopping in St. Louis, Missouri. Departing St. Louis on May 12, 1997, at 9:13 a.m. (CDT), the Friendship Flight will next stop at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, New York, just 29 miles east of the Statue of Liberty. Republic Airport is the closest airport to Lindbergh's original departure point of Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York.

After a week of meeting with local children and again holding to Lindbergh's itinerary, Signs will lift off from Republic Farmingdale Airport at precisely 7:52 a.m. (EDT) on May 20, 1997, for the 23-hour non-stop flight to Paris, France, arriving over Paris at approximately 1:00 p.m. on May. 21, 1997. Circling the Eiffel Tower twice, Friendship Flight '97 will then touch down at Le Bourget Airport.

At each of the four ground locations -- San Diego, St. Louis, New York, and Paris, plans are underway to allow Signs to meet with local school children and explain to them about Charles Lindbergh's accomplishments, the monumental Lindbergh flight, and the excitement of world-wide aviation. "In talking with elementary and middle school educators all over the country, I was surprised at the lack of knowledge that their students shows regarding the accomplishments of the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh, and the impact of American aviation on world events," remarked Signs.

Children all over the world can also follow the 70th anniversary flight by surfing the Internet to the Friendship Flight '97 web page. Prior to May 10th, 1997, visitors will have the opportunity to read background articles on the original Lindbergh flight, check out plans for Signs' anniversary flight, and look at photos of the Spirit of St. Louis and Friendship Flight's Cessna 210 Centurion. From May 10th on, Internet surfers can review daily updates on the progress of Friendship Flight '97.

Friendship Flight '97 is the 7th in a series of flights that Signs has made over the past eight years. His passion for long distance flying began in 1987 when signs piloted a 100hp single-engine Cessna 150 to Venezuela and back. "I was flying a standard 150 with standard tanks and a single nav/comm and I could only make 600 miles a day," remarked Signs.

Trading up to a Mooney M-20-E with long range tanks, Signs headed off on Friendship Flight '90 which crossed the North Atlantic twice, visiting 13 countries including a landing in Russia. Additional Friendship Flights have allowed Signs to land in more than 64 countries in his quest for long distance travel and have given him the opporutnity to share his aviation vision with children and adults all over the world.

Signs current aircraft, a 1974 single-engine Cessna 210 "Centurion" was equipped to fly 3,450 miles non-stop when he and pilot Ruth Jacobs of Fairhope, Alabama, became the first crew to land a single-engine aircraft on all seven continents during Friendship Flight '96, their record-setting 50-day around the world trip. This same Cessna 210 will be the aircraft Signs will pilot solo during the Lindbergh recreation. Although Signs will have access to modern radios and can position his aircraft though the use of the Global Positioning System, he will not have acess to the aircraft's autopilot and will be required to "hand fly" the aircraft solo for each leg of the trip including the 23-hour Atlantic crossing.

Signs, 44, began his flight training at the age of 16 while in Orlando, Florida. He received his private pilot's license at 17 and his commercial license at 18. Having logged almost 3 million air miles in over 10,000 hours of flight, Signs has flown a large variety of aircraft from single-seat crop dusters, to corporate twin-engine turbine aircraft, to 4-engine transports. Additionally, Signs is an FAA licensed aircraft mechanic which allows him to keep his aircraft in top flying shape.

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Bill Signs Author

Bill Signs

The main pilot for Friendship Flight.


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Friendship Flight 1997 Lindbergh

A commemoration of Charles Lindbergh's historic flight, 70 years to the minute. Signs retraced Lindbergh's route, departing San Diego, St. Louis, and New York, arriving in Paris, France, on May 21st, 1997 at 11 a.m. Ten thousand children are expected to participate at the airports, where Signs will share Lindbergh's accomplishments and the excitement of world-wide aviation.

  • Pilot: Bill Signs
  • Aircraft: Cessna 210L N90MB

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