Charles A. Lindbergh (1902-1974) was an American aviator, military officer, author, inventor, explorer, and environmental activist. Famed for his Orteig Prize-winning solo non-stop flight on May 20–21, 1927 at the age of 25, from Roosevelt Field located in Garden City on New York's Long Island to Le Bourget Field in Paris, France, a distance of nearly 3,600 statute miles, in the single-seat, single-engine monoplane Spirit of St. Louis.
|Charles Lindbergh in the open cockpit of airplane at Lambert Field, St. Louis, Missouri in 1923|
The 33.5-hour crossing vaulted Lindbergh to international stardom, but he was later visited by tragedy in 1932, when his 20-month-old son was kidnapped and murdered in what was dubbed “the Crime of the Century.”
Below, 10 surprising facts about the heroic and controversial life of the aviator known as “The Lone Eagle.”
1. His father was a U.S. Congressman.
When Lindbergh was four years old, Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District elected his father, Charles August Lindbergh, to the U.S. House of Representatives. The elder Lindbergh would serve five terms in Congress, where he won a reputation for his independent stances and fierce opposition to the Federal Reserve System. Congressman Lindbergh was among the few members of the House to speak out against U.S. involvement in World War I, and was later censored and accused of sedition after writing an anti-war pamphlet called “Why is Your Country at War?”
|Charles Lindbergh and father, Charles. A. Lindbergh. 1909|
|Aviator Charles Lindbergh and his mother in 1930|
|Charles Lindbergh and Anne Spencer Morrow were married on May 27, 1929|
2. He worked as a daredevil and stunt pilot.
After learning to fly at the Nebraska Aircraft Corporation in Lincoln, Lindbergh spent two years years as an itinerant stuntman and aerial daredevil. During “barnstorming” excursions through the American heartland, the young aviator wowed audiences with daring displays of wing-walking, parachuting and mid-air plane changes. After purchasing his own plane, he became one of the nation’s top stunt pilots, often twisting his machine into complicated loops and spins or killing the engine at 3,000 feet and gliding to ground. Despite the hazardous nature of stunt flying, “Lucky Lindy’s” closest brushes with death would come during his time as a U.S. Army flier, test pilot and airmail pilot, when he survived a record four plane crashes by bailing out and parachuting to safety.
|Portrait of young Charles Lindbergh|
|Charles Lindbergh, 1927|
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