Charles Lindbergh Essay, Research Paper
Would you like to be paid $25,000 for flying across the Atlantic Ocean alone? Sure, with today’s airplanes, that would be easy. But in Charles Lindbergh’s day, back in 1927, the evolution of planes was just beginning and it was going to take an adventurous man to complete such a daunting task. Many people, both before and after him, were cheered when they succeeded, or mourned when they died failing. Charles Lindbergh,the man who set the record for the flying across America in the shortest time, amazed the world when he
completed the first transatlantic flight. He lived the rest of his life as a pacifist, an aviation expert, and a nature conservationist. He went from being a hero, being called a traitor, and ended his life in seclusion from a corrupt world.
Charles Lindbergh showed his hard-working attitude throughout is entire life, which eventually made him famous. Charles Lindbergh was born on February 4, 1902 in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Evangaline Land Lindbergh and Charles Lindbergh, an only child (Byers 421). He grew up on a farm near Little Falls, Minnesota,
his father being a Congressman representing the sixth district of the state (Norton), serving from 1907 – 1917 (Byers 421). Due to the fact that his parents separated when he was six, young Charles was only able to see “his father when he went to visit him in Washington, D.C.” (M., Eric) Charles still had a proper education and
upbringing. During his teenage years, Charles Lindbergh showed an early mechanical aptitude, and a dislike for “school, or any other formal education. He did not like the idea of other people telling him what he should learn.”
(M., Eric) After graduating from High School, he enrolled in the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, studying mechanical engineering, only to leave two years later to attend flight school (Byers 421). He first learned how to fly in Lincoln, Nebraska, and performed his first solo flight in 1923. Charles then bought a surplus Curtiss “Jenny” airplane. After the purchase, he went on to make exhibition flights and short hops across the United States, as
well as barnstormed, which is doing stunts in the air like loops and barrel rolls at county fairs for money (Byers 422). After he was finished barnstorming, he enlisted in the US Army for training to be in the Army Air Service Reserve in 1924 (Fetzer). A year later he graduated at the top of his class at the school at Brooks and Kelly
Fields, San Antonio, even after colliding with another student in the air (Fetzer)! He was then hired immediately by Robertson Aircraft Corporation in St. Louis as an airmail pilot (Fetzer). After the flights that made him famous and marrying Anne Morrow, he became an advisor with various aviation groups, and died in seclusion thanks to cancer in Maui on August 26, 1974 (Fetzer). The way he lived his life set the stage for Charles Lindbergh being able to
cross the Atlantic.
Although crossing the Atlantic was the most recognized of all of Lindbergh’s accomplishments, there were in fact other areas that he excelled in. It all started in 1919, when a man named Raymond Orteig offered a prize of $25,000, given to anyone that can fly solo across the Atlantic from New York to Paris (Worldbook). Up until
1927, no one had been able to accomplish such a feat. Some men had died trying, while others made it, although they were flying with someone else, which made the $25,000 prize void for them (Worldbook). Charles Lindbergh, who was living in San Diego at the time, decided upon hearing about the prize money and the
requirements to risk the flight, thus earning him one of his first nicknames, “The flying fool.” No one thought he could do it, except for him. What he was really doing it for was not for pride or the money, but for the sense of adventure(Worldbook). After his job as an airmail pilot, he had saved up $2,000, which was nowhere near the
amount needed to make the trip (Worldbook). His Curtiss “Jenny” didn’t have the range needed, nor the fuel consumption rate that would have let him make the trip. He talked to businessmen in St. Louis, who were inspired by Lindbergh’s speech and decided to give him the money needed to build a new plane (Worldbook). So the
Spirit of St. Louis was designed and created in San Diego, California (Worldbook). The airplane itself was a work of art. It was powered by a 220-horsepower engine, it had no parachute, radio, or any extra conceivable weight (Colonel). The extra room that was created was used for the fuel tank (Colonel). Even with all of this, the plane
barely made it over the telephone wires at the end of the field (Colonel). The name “Spirit of St. Louis” didn’t come from gratitude of the 9 businessmen, but the name came from the patron saint of Missouri (Worldbook). After the construction of the plane, Charles flew to New York in 20 hours and 21 minutes, which was record
breaking in itself (Worldbook). He then proceeded to Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York, where there were others already there waiting for an improvement in weather. They were the America, piloted by Commander Byrd, who had flown over the North Pole in 1926, and the Bellanca Plane New York piloted by both Clarence
Chamberlain and Bert Acosta, who went on to set the record for a continuous flight at 51 hours (Worldbook). Against the wishes of his mechanic, Charles took off with a new compass, 4 sandwiches and a bottle of water, and 6 letters of identification on May 20, 1927 at 7:52 a.m., and successfully completed the 2,610, 33 hours and 29
minutes flight from New York City to Paris, France, landing amongst a crowd numbering over 100,000 people at 10:21 p.m. Paris time at LeBourguet field (Worldbook). He was only 2 miles off course when he flew over Ireland, which was amazing for that day when there were no radars or GPS satellites (Worldbook). Charles Lindbergh was immediately hailed as a hero, although he went on to do many other things.
After the trans-continental flight, Charles Lindbergh went on to tour Europe as a “goodwill ambassador” (Worldbook). His first stop was Paris, where he stayed at the American Embassy as a guest of Ambassador Herrick (Worldbook). He dined with the President and the Prime Minister, where he received the Cross of the Legion of Honor, which is the highest award given in France (Worldbook). Lindbergh improved the relations between France and America, and Ambassador Herrick said to President Coolidge that, “. . .could not have found
a better type. . .” (Myers). After France, Lindbergh traveled to Belgium and England, where he received Belgium’s highest honor, the Knight of the Order of Leopold, from King Albert, and the Air Force Cross from King George in England (Worldbook). Charles wanted to see all of Europe, so hundreds of ambassadors tried to get him into
their country. Herrick made up the excuse that Lindbergh needed to return to the states. Charles jokingly stated, “the government ‘invited’ me to take the boat.” (Myers). On the way back to the states, he was promoted from a Captain to a Colonel on the Memphis (Myers). Canada then invited Lindbergh to Ohowa, where he received the Diamond Jubilee of the Confederation from Canada’s head of state (Worldbook). When he was back in the States, he joined the Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics, which visited every state to tell about commercial aviation (Worldbook). He explained that flying could be used as a business, instead of sport like the
racers and the barnstormers, as a dependable source of income (Worldbook). He ended up flying 22,350 miles across 48 states (which was the total at that time) (Worldbook). He was only late once, one out of eighty-two visits, because of fog (Worldbook). He made 147 speeches, dined in at 70 dinners, rode 1,285 miles on parade,
and for those cities who he wasn’t able to stop by at, he dropped 192 air-messages (Worldbook). His sponsors from St.. Louis and San Diego said that all their expectations of Charles Lindbergh, or the “Lone Eagle” as he was now dubbed, were met. On December 13, 1927 a non-stop tour from Washington, D.C. to Mexico City, the Caribbean, and Central America was scheduled for “Lucky Linny” (Worldbook). While on that trip, he met Anne Spencer Morrow, the daughter of the United States Ambassador to Mexico, and married her in 1929 (Fetzer).
The trip from Washington to Mexico City was 2,060 miles long and took 26 hours to fly(Worldbook). He was welcomed there as a guest of honor, and improved Mexican-American relations (Myers). Ambassador Morrow had Lindbergh’s mother flown in during Christmas so they could spend the holiday together (Worldbook). He then flew on to visit the capitols of all of the Central American ountries, from Guatemala City to Panama, where his tour ended on January 9, 1928, and was present at the International Convention of the States of Spanish North
and South America (Worldbook). Although Lindbergh had many accomplishments abroad, he was even more popular at home, for a time.
Charles Lindbergh’s popularity did not disappear after his flights. He was an advisor for the Aeronautical Science Committee, and in 1928, he was able to continue flying (Worldbook). He became the Chairman of the technical committee for Trans-Continental Air Transport based in New York City (Worldbook). On his 27th
birthday, he returned to the airmail service and began the Miami-Panama route (Worldbook). With his wife as his navigator, he made in 1931 air-map routes to China, a 30,000 mile stretch of airspace (Byers 422). This created the trans-oceanic air routes possible. Before World War II, he toured Germany’s aviation program and became
convinced of their invincibility (Fetzer). He urged neutrality in WWII, and for that was criticized by Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Byers 422). He resigned from the U.S. Air Force, and became a civilian technician (Fetzer). When he wanted back into the military, it was refused, but he still flew over 50 combat missions and became an
ace (five kills) many times over (Fetzer). He was then commissioned again by Dwight Eisenhower as a Brigadier General in the reserve, and helped developed the 747 jumbo jet (Worldbook). But something even more important was about to happen to the Lindbergh’s. Their son, 20 month old Charles Lindbergh, Jr., was kidnapped on March 1, 1932 (Byers 422). A ransom note was left demanding $50,000, but before the
Lindbergh’s could pay, the baby’s body was found 10 weeks later (Fetzer). The kidnapper, allegedly Bruno Richard Hauptmann, got to the baby through a ladder on the outside. State Police Chief H. Norman Schwartzkopf demonstrated that the kidnapper slipped on the way down, dropped the baby, who instantly died of a crushed skull
(Tombtown). The trial, in 1935, ended on February 13 with the execution of Hauptmann, and this statement by David Wilentz of the New Jersey Attorney General:
Now, men and women, as I told you before, there are some cases in which a recommendation of mercy might do, but not this one, not this one. Either this man is the filthiest and vilest snake that ever crawled through the grass, or he is entitled to an acquittal. If you bring in a recommendation of mercy, a wishy-washy decision, yes, it is your province, I will not say a word about it. I will not say another word. But it seems to me that you have the courage. If you are convinced, as all of us are — you must find him
guilty of murder in the first degree (Aiuto). Charles Lindbergh pioneered the age of mass-media attention (The Flyer). Due to the fact that Lindbergh now hated the media, he left America to go live in Europe (Fetzer). He then worked with Alex Carrel to develop the
artificial lung and heart (Byers 422). After working with her, he moved to Maui, which he described as, “There is nothing quite comparable when you think of waterfalls, natural swimming pools, and the ocean beyond” (Myers). Charles Augustus Lindbergh ended his life in peace on that island.
In conclusion, Charles Lindbergh led an incredible life, ranging from aviation, medicine, and diplomacy. His
popularity began at the middle of a mountain, getting better until his proposed neutrality, where it diminished greatly. His life led to advances in air routes around the world, set records that stood alone for many years, and saved the lives of many people with the artificial lung and heart. His biographies were made best-sellers almost every time. The world was greatly changed by the life of Charles Lindbergh, and his name will never be forgotten.