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Charles Lindbergh: First Man to Complete a Transatlantic Flight

Charles Lindbergh completed the first ever nonstop, solo flight from New York to Paris aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on May 20-21, 1927. After he had completed the 34-hour and 3, 610-mile flight, Charles Lindbergh became famous and an international hero. Now, the Spirit of St. Louis is displayed in the National Air and Space Museum’s atrium.

His Transatlantic Flight

In 1919, Raymond Orteig, who is a New York businessman, declared a reward of $25,000 to the first person to fly from New York to Paris. A lot of people tried the challenge to get the prize money. This made the transatlantic challenge a national obsession during that time. Charles Lindbergh persuaded a number of businessmen from St. Louis to help him take up the challenge and win the Orteig prize, and they assisted him in his plan.

Spirit of St. Louis

Considered as a small manufacturer, Ryan Aeronautical Company in San Diego agreed to develop an aircraft for Charles Lindbergh for only $6,000 including the engine’s cost. Lindbergh went to the San Diego and administered the construction and design modifications of his plane. Basically, the Spirit of St. Louis was a custom-made plane, created specifically to let Lindbergh fly across from New York to Paris.

Lindbergh gave up excess weight for additional fuel capacity. He didn’t have a radio, brakes, parachutes, and even a forward-facing window. At first, the wings were designed to be twenty-seven feet long and were later evolved to forty-five feet, to aid in the lifting of the 400+ gallons of gas. The rest of the aircraft only weighed roughly 2500 pounds, including the pilot and the engine.

The aircraft was powered by the state-of-the-art 223hp Wright Whirlwind J-5C engine; the aircraft can fly for 4,200 miles. The aircraft was identified as “N-X-211 RYAN NYP”. The “N” stands for the United States’ international aeronautical code. The “X” means experimental. It was the 211th plane to have such license. And the “RYAN NYP” is an abbreviation for “Ryan New York – Paris.”

The Flight

On May 20, 1927, Lindbergh took flight from Roosevelt Field, Long Island. Seeing Ireland’s coastline, he turned south headed for France. He passed over England and the English Channel and saw the lights of Paris at 10. He then landed at Paris’ Le Bourget Field. He had traveled for 33 hours and 30 minutes after he took off from Long Island. He traveled for 3,610 miles. By successfully finishing the flight, he collected the $25,000 prize that Orteig posted.

After his huge success, his life, and the world then changed forever. Thousands of people went to Paris to meet him.

Lindbergh’s successful trip over the Atlantic through his Spirit of St. Louis plane proved that a transatlantic flight is possible. His success has paved a way for more transatlantic flights. At present, tons of commercial flights and even chartered flights have flown over the Atlantic, from the US to Europe and vice versa.

Some people prefer private transatlantic flights because private jet flights offer the ultimate in privacy, comfort, and flexibility. There are various reasons people would choose a private flight. Sometimes, it can be in an emergency when someone needs to fly quickly, or a multi-leg itinerary, a family or corporate flight.