On 20 May 1927, Charles Lindbergh left New York and made the first solo flight across the Atlantic.
Charles Lindbergh was a daredevil. A boy from Detroit, he grew up a loner and became a thrill seeker. In his early 20s he was doing stunts on airplanes and testing parachutes.
Testing parachutes, now there’s a job. They called Lindbergh “Slim” — they say he was 6′ 5″ and weighed about 150 pounds. That is pretty slim, all right. After a brief stint as an airmail pilot, Lindbergh decided to go for the Orteig Prize, a contest that promised $25,000 to the first person to fly non-stop from New York to Paris.
He helped design The Spirit of St. Louis, and tested the airplane on a flight from California to New York in 1927.
On his solo flight across the ocean, Lindbergh took some sandwiches and a quart of water. He flew 3600 miles and arrived in Paris 33 1/2 hours later, greeted by thousands and thousands of admirers.
Here’s “Charles Lindbergh in Color” to tell his story (in color!):
A month later, on 20 June 1927, Clarence Chamberlain and Charles Levine flew the Columbia 3905 miles in 43 hours on a trip from New York to Germany. A week after that, Lester J. Maitland and Albert F. Hegenberger flew from San Francisco to Hawaii.
Almost a year after Lindbergh’s solo flight, on 25 May 1928, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic (she had two passengers).