Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born on Feb. 4, 1902, in Detroit. He grew up on a farm near Little Falls, Minn. In 1924, Lindbergh enlisted in the United States Army so that he could be trained as an Army Air Service Reserve pilot. In 1925, he graduated from the Army’s flight-training school at Brooks and Kelly fields, near San Antonio, as the best pilot in his class. In 1919, a New York City hotel owner named Raymond Orteig offered $25,000 to the first aviator to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. On May 20, Lindbergh took off in the Spirit of St. Louis from Roosevelt Field, near New York City, at 7:52 A.M. He landed at Le Bourget Field, near Paris, on May 21 at 10:21 P.M. Paris time (5:21 P.M. New York time). In 1927, Lindbergh published We, a book about his transatlantic flight. Lindbergh died of cancer on Aug. 26, 1974, in his home on the Hawaiian island of Maui. After his death, he was buried on the beautiful grounds of the Palapala Ho’omau Church.
Charles Lindbergh’s Quotes
- “Isn’t it strange that we talk least about the things we think about most?”
- “In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia. “
- “To a person in love, the value of the individual is intuitively known. Love needs no logic for its mission. “
- “It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you have wanted to do so badly. You almost feel like you could fly without the plane.”
- “I owned the world that hour as I rode over it. free of the earth, free of the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably I was bound to them.”
Timline of Charles Lindbergh’s Life Up Until His Famous Flight
June 15, 1918: Lindbergh collects his diploma from Little Falls High School.
Fall 1920: Lindbergh starts his studies in mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
March 1924: Lindbergh enlists in the Army Air Service and begins training. He graduates, first in his class, from the Army’s Advanced Flying School and is commissioned as a second lieutenant.
Fall 1926: Bored with mail flying, Lindbergh dreams of capturing the $25,000 Orteig Prize that will be given to the first aviator to fly nonstop between New York and Paris.
April 1927: Construction on Lindbergh’s plane, built by the Ryan Aeronautical Company in San Diego, is completed.
May 12, 1927: Lindbergh arrives in New York. He had crossed the entire country in less than twenty-two hours of flying time.
Timeline of Lindbergh’s Transatlantic Flight: New York to Paris Timeline, May 20-21, 1927
7:52am: Charles Lindbergh takes off from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York.
8:52am: Currently over Rhode Island. 3,500 miles to Paris.
10:52am: Lindbergh begins to feel tired, although only four hours have passed since leaving New York.
11:52am: Four hundred miles from New York. Altitude: 200 ft. Nova Scotia appears ahead.
12:52pm: Lindbergh flies over a mountain range. Clouds soon appear and thicken as the Spirit of St. Louis approaches a storm front.
2:52pm: Lindbergh’s course takes him away from the edge of the storm. Wind velocity has dropped to 15 mph.
3:52pm: The eastern edge of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island lies below. Although it’s only the afternoon of the first day, Lindbergh struggles to stay awake.
5:52pm: Flying along the southern coast of Newfoundland.
7:52pm: Stars begin to appear in the sky as night falls. Lindbergh climbs from an altitude of 800 ft to 7500 ft to stay above the quickly-rising cloud.
8:52pm: Altitude: 10,000 ft. The cloud that first appeared as fog is still below. Lindbergh files into the towering cloud, then turns back after noticing iceforming on the plane.
10:52pm: To keep warm, Lindbergh considers closing the plane’s windows, but then decides that he needs the cold, fresh air to help stay awake.
11:52pm: Five hundred miles from Newfoundland. The air has warmed and there’s no ice remaining on the plane.
1:52am: Halfway to Paris. Eighteen hours into the flight.
2:52am: Daylight! Because Lindbergh has travelled through several time zones, dawn comes earlier.
4:52am: Flying in the fog. Lindbergh continually falls asleep with his eyes open, then awakens seconds, possibly minutes, later. Finally, after flying for hours in or above the fog, the skies begin to clear.
7:52am: Twenty-four hours have elapsed since taking off from New York.
9:52am: Several small fishing boats spotted.
10:52am: Local time: 3:00pm. Lindbergh spots land to his left and veers toward it. Referring to his charts, he identifies the land to be the southern tip of Ireland.
12:52pm: Wanting to reach the French coast in daylight, Lindbergh increases air speed to 110 mph. The English coast appears ahead.
2:52pm: The sun sets as the Spirit of St. Louis flies over the coastal French town of Cherbourg.
5:22pm: The Spirit of St. Louis touches down at the Le Bourget Aerodrome, Paris, France. Local time: 10:22pm. Total flight time: 33 hours, 30 minutes, 29.8 seconds.
Timline of Charles Lindbergh’s Life After His Famous Flight
June 10, 1927: Lindbergh returns to the U.S. on board the U.S.S. Memphis. Hundreds of thousands turn out to honor Lindbergh as he receives the first Distinguished Flying Cross from President Calvin Coolidge.
June 13, 1927: More than four million people turn out for events honoring the flier in New York. By this time, Lindbergh has become the most photographed man in the world.
May 27, 1929: Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh are wed.
August 23, 1948: Lindbergh’s book, Of Flight and Life, is published.
April 7, 1954: In a private ceremony in Washington, D.C., Lindbergh is sworn in as a Brigadier General. He adds even more to his prestige later in the year when he completes his autobiography, The Spirit of St. Louis. The book becomes an overwhelming bestseller and receives the Pulitzer Prize.
1962: Lindbergh becomes increasingly interested in the impact that “civilization” is having on the earth and its wilderness areas, indigenous tribes, and wildlife.
July 1964: Lindbergh debuts as an advocate for conservation with a Reader’s Digest article entitled “Is Civilization Progress?”
Summer 1969: Lindbergh, who has fallen in love with the Hawaiian islands, begins building a home on Maui.
October 1972: During a routine examination, Lindbergh’s doctor discovers an abnormal node that proves to be cancerous.