Charles Lindbergh lands in Paris after having performed the first-ever solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean.
May 21 in Swedish-American History
1927: Charles Lindbergh lands in Paris after having performed the first-ever solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean. He flew from New York to Paris in 33.5 hours in his monoplane, Spirit of St. Louis. Lindberg (1902-1974), nicknamed “Slim” and “Lucky Lindy,” was born in Detroit with family roots in Smedstorp in Skåne.
Charles Lindbergh takes off early in the morning on Friday, May 20 on his “partner”, dubbed the Spirit of St. Louis, which is burdened by a heavy load of 450 US gallons of gasoline, weighing approximately 2,710 lbs. The runway (Roosevelt Field, Long Island) is muddy and wet at take off, and over the next 33.5 hours Lindbergh and the Spirit (Lindbergh always referred to the two of them as “we”) faced many challenges, including storm clouds at 10,000 feet, wave tops as low as 10 feet, icing, flying blindly through fog for several hours, and navigating only by the stars (when visible). They land at Le Bourget in Paris at 10.22 PM on Saturday, May 21st.
A crowd of 150,000 spectators storms the field, dragging Lindbergh out of the cockpit, and literally carrying him above their heads for almost half an hour. Some damage is done to the Spirit by too ardent souvenir hunters, before Lindbergh and the Spirit are eventually rescued by a group of military fliers, soldiers and police who take them to safety in a nearby hangar. From that moment on, however, life for the American-Swedish aviator is never the same. His successful flight gives him instantaneous and lifelong worldwide fame. On August 31st his flight is certified as the Class-C World Record for non-stop flight for the distance of 5,809 kilometers (3,137 nautical miles or 3,610 miles).
The 25-year old was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1902, but spent most of his childhood in Little Falls, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C. He was the third child of Swedish immigrant Charles August Lindbergh (birth name Carl Månsson) and the only child of his second wife, Evangeline Lodge Lindbergh.
Apart from being a major American aviator, Lindbergh was also an author, inventor, explorer and social activist. In 1932, Lindbergh and his wife, Anne, lost their son, Charles Jr., who was kidnapped and murdered in what was dubbed “The Crime of the Century.”
Later in life, Lindbergh, was engaged in environmental causes. From the 1960s on, he campaigned to protect endangered species like humpback and blue whales, was instrumental in establishing protections for the controversial Filipino group, the Tasaday, African tribes, and supporting the establishment of a national park. While studying the native flora and fauna of the Philippines, Lindbergh became involved in an effort to protect the Philippine Eagle. In his final years, he stressed the need to regain the balance between the world and the natural environment, and spoke against the introduction of supersonic airliners. Today The Spirit of St. Louis hangs in the atrium of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Charles Lindbergh passed away in 1974.
Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis on May 31 in 1927 after “their” transatlantic flight, which took place on May 20th and May 21st the same year.