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Great Adventure: Charles Lindbergh

A trailblazing flight from New York to Paris in 1927 sparked a global obsession for air travel. Pat Kinsella follows Charles ‘Lucky’ Lindbergh on his world-changing transatlantic adventure


LIFTED SPIRITS MAIN: Upon his arrival, a crowd of 100,000 stormed the field, dragged Lindbergh from his cockpit, and carried him around above their heads for “nearly half an hour”

“I was astonished at the effect my successful landing in France had on the nations of the world. To me, it was like a match lighting a bonfire”Charles Lindbergh

When a 25-year-old mail-delivery pilot with zero experience of flying over water began his bid to become the first person to fly from New York to Paris, few believed that the barnstorming young punk was about to change aviation history forever.

Charles Lindbergh strode across a soggy, rain-ravaged Roosevelt Field on Long Island just after 7.30am on 20 May 1927, holding four sandwiches and two canteens of water. Climbing aboard his newly built bird, the now-famous Spirit of St Louis, he could hardly have guessed just how much the next 33-and-a-half hair-raising hours would transform his life.

Linbergh with the Spirit of St Louis, the plane in which he made his historic flight

Lindbergh was about to attempt to fly further than anyone else had done before – 3,610 miles between New York and Paris. If successful, not only would he make history, he would also pocket a $25,000 purse offered by wealthy New York hotelier Raymond Orteig, who had been dangling the dough as a reward for the first to complete the transatlantic city-to-city feat for the previous eight years.

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About History Revealed

The January 2017 issue of History Revealed.