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Charles A. Lindbergh

Charles A. Lindebergh


Charles A. Lindbergh was born on February 4, 1902 in Detroit, Michigan. He is best known for his 1927 transatlantic flight.

Lindbergh became a student at Nebraska Aircraft Corporation in 1922. Buying a wartime "Jenny," he began a barnstorming career. In 1924, he enlisted in the Air Services and received a commission in the Reserves and became an Army Air Mail Service Pilot.

Planning to attempt the first solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic, Lindbergh bought a Ryan Monoplane and named it the "Spirit of St. Louis." On May 20, 1927, he took off from Roosevelt Field in New York. Flying through the rain and fox without a parachute or radio, he desperately fought sleep. The next day, he landed at Le Bourget Field in Paris, France. His total flight time was 33 hours and 30 minutes. A hero overnight, great honors, including the Congressional Medal of Honor, were bestowed upon him. Afterward he made Goodwill flights, to Mexico, Central America, the West Indies, and Asia.

In 1933 Lindbergh and his wife, Anne, made extensive survey flights over possible transoceanic commercial air routes. Observing the buildup of air power in Europe, he reported his findings to Army Air Corps. During World War II, he served the nation as a civilian consultant and received special commendations from the U.S. government for missions in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Lindbergh contributed a great deal of research work to the U.S. Air Force and retired as a brigadier general in the Reserves.

Lindbergh is the author of We (1927) and Of Flight and Life (1948). He also wrote an autobiography, The Spirit of St. Louis (1953), which won him a Pulitzer Prize. Lindbergh has received the 1953, Daniel Guggenheim International Aviation Award and the Distinguished Service Cross.

Lindbergh was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame on December 19, 1967 and the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on November 7, 1992 for outstanding contributions to aviation by his historic transatlantic solo flight, pioneering of air routes, and technical service to aeronautical organizations.

Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program