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Charles Lindbergh7. march 2011 20:52
by Gary Hudson
Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born in Detroit 1902 and grew up on a small farm in Minnesota. His father was a lawyer from Sweden who served as a congressman and his mother a chemistry teacher. Charles went on to become one of the most famous and inspiring aviators in the world.
As a child he was extremely interested in motors and all sorts of machines. He went to school to study mechanical engineering but after about two years he dropped out because of his poor performance. He then started his Pilot license in the Nebraska Aircraft corporation but could not finish his solo flight because he did not have the 500$ deposit he needed.
To get the money, Charles started participating in air shows, not as a pilot, but as a parachute jumper. With the money he bought a Curtiss JN-4 plane named “Jenny” with which he finished the hours and experience he needed. Until 1924 he worked as a stunt pilot, because in that year he enrolled into the United States Army Air Service where he received futher flight training. In March 1925 he completed best in his class.
During those years there was not much use for military pilots so he started flying as post service pilot from St. Louis to Chicago. In the year 1926 Lindberg got the idea to do a non-stop flight from New York to Paris. Since Raymond Orteig had made public 1919 that he would pay 25.000$ to the pilot that would fly that route non-stop.
The first Atlantic Ocean crossing was in 1919, but it was not nonstop. Charles contacted Ryan Airlines in San Diego if they could build a one motor plane to fly the route. This challenge was well received by the aircraft manufacturer and by April the plane, “The Spirit of St. Louis”, was ready for takeoff.
The trip took a total of 33.5 hours and the only tools Charles used during his cross Atlantic flight was a compass and maps. After flying over 5700km he landed in Paris where 100,000 people applaud him. After the crossing he was honored everywhere and he started promoting aeronautics in the states and was granted the Congressional Medal of Honor.
After his crossover, Charles did a so called Guggenheim tour where he visited over 90 cities, took part in over 1000 parades and gave speeches. He also wrote the book “We”, referring to himself and the plane.
In 1929 Charles married his wife Anne Spencer who later took part in his flights as copilot. They had a total of five children. In March 1932, their son Charles III was kidnapped and a ransom of 50.000$ demanded. The baby was found dead in May that same year. 1936 a man called Bruno Richard Hauptmann was executed for the kidnapping and death of the baby although he denied everything to the end.
When America entered WWII Lindbergh joined the America First Committee which opposed the entry of the states into the war. The aviator lost the respect of many Americans when he did this and was considered a Nazi follower. However after Pearl Harbor, Charles changed his mind and tried to reenlist into the Army but was refused entry. This is when he became an adviser and test pilot. Although Charles was denied entry in the army he still flew around 50 missions.
After the war, the aviator withdrew from public and kept working as an adviser. He wrote a second book about his Atlantic crossing in 1927 and that book received the Pulitzer Prize in 1954. Charles Lindbergh died on the 26th of August in 1974 at the age of 72. After his death it became public that he did not only have a wife with which he had five children, he also had three children in Germany who he had with a woman that was 24 years younger than him called Brigitte. It also became public that he had two children with his secretary and two children with Brigitte sister.
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