Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974)

Inspiration for Friendship Flight 1997

At 7:52 in the morning on May 20, 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh took off, alone, from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, NY and headed out on his flight to Paris. He was only 25 years old, and he was flying a 27 foot long plane that had but a single 223 horsepower engine. The entire load was over 5,000 pounds. His destination was Le Bourget Airport, Paris, FRANCE, a distance of 3,000 miles. He had named the plane the Spirit of St. Louis in recognition of the men from the city who had provided a large part of the money for the plane.

Charles had prepared well for the long and hazardous flight. He had personally supervised the consruction of The Spirit at the Ryan Aircraft plant in San Diego. On May 10, he had flown the plane approximately 1550 miles, non-stop, from San Diego to St. Louis in 14 hours and 5 minutes. It had been the longest such flight ever made across country by one man.

Now, with the engine roaring, Charles gave full throttle to The Spirit. It bounced, lifted, settled, and finally bounced again into the air. If stayed aloft, and 33 1/2 hours later -- after fighting wind, rain, fog, and sleep, Charles A. Lindbergh landed in France. Thousands stormed onto the airfield to see, to hear, and to perhaps touch this daring young man.

Seventy years have passed since the event. Lindbergh did not consider himself a hero, although that is how he was viewed by millions around the world. His purpose in attempting the flight was to center attention on what he believe was to be the transportation medium of the future -- AVIATION.

Charles Lindbergh

Never before or since Lindbergh's flight has the world responded in a more profound, protracted, and positive way to an individual accomplishment. Yet it was what Charles A. Lindbergh achieved after his historical flight that best illustrated the very nature and depth of the man. Shortly after his return to the US, he embarked on a trip around the country during which he flew over of visited every state in the union. Subsequently, he flew into Mexico and on to Central and South America where he visited numerous countries. As a good will ambassador, he was without peer.

As we celebrate in 1997 the 70th anniversary of this great event, we want to recall what Charles A Lindbergh accomplished well beyond his flight to Paris. As years passed he faced both success and heartache. His first child was kidnapped and killed. Hounded by the media, he and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, moved to England where they lived for a period of time. But, his honors and accomplishments far exceeded his disappointemnts, and his achievements were numerous. As a FAMILY, Charles A. and Anne Lindbergh were parents of Jon, Anne, Scott, Land, Reeve, and the infant Charles.

In AVIATION, Lindbergh was hired by Pan American Airlines; he studied and developed new routes for their airliners, and he served as a Director on the Board.

In the MILITARY, in April, 1954, he was commissioned as a Brigadier General in the US Air Force Reserve. He became a roving trouble- shooter for the US Air Force. He was appointed to the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. During the war in the Pacific, he demonstrated fuel economy practices for US pilots.; and, he actually flew 50 combat missions in the South Pacific in 1944 while serving with the Navy and Marines as an advisor on fighter planes. Upon his return from the Paris flight, he had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by President Calvin Cooledge as, "a symbol of appreciation for what he is and what he has done."

Charles Lindbergh

In the field of SCIENCE, he advocated that the US develop a program of organized research into rocketry and space science. Along with medical researcher and Nobel Price Laureate Dr. Alexis Carrel, he developed a glass perfusion pump.

As an AUTHOR, Charles A. Lindbergh wrote numerous books and articles. In 1935, he co-authoured an article in Science Magazine about the perfusion pump. Two of his most famous boos are "The Spirit of St. Louis" and "We." The former earned him a Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1954, and it was made into a moview starring Jimmy Stewart.

As the years passed, Charles A. Lindbergh devoted more of his time to the study and appreciation of the land, sea and air. He occupied his time thinking about and talking about the relationship between man and his environment. Until his death, both plant and animal ecology fascinated him.

Charles A. Lindbergh died August 26, 1974, and he is buried in the churchyard at Hana, on the island of Maui.

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