Charles Lindbergh and the Transatlantic Flight
"The transatlantic flight of Charles Lindbergh in May 1927 was acclaimed around the world as a heroic feat of the era, a symbolic victory over nature and space by human ingenuity and technological progress." (Charles Lindbergh: An American Aviator). Lindbergh is considered a very accomplished man, his greatest achievement being the transatlantic flight. When the "Spirit of St. Louis" departed from New York on May 20, 1927, Charles Lindbergh was nothing more than a mere common man. On May 21,1927, when he stepped out of his plane in Paris, he was a world-famous hero. Lindbergh's love of aviation began at an early age. As soon as he was eighteen he would sign up with the U.S. Flying Service (Gill, 16). Lindbergh became a pilot in the spring/summer of 1923 and enlisted in the Army Air Service in March of 1924. He would later graduate from the Army's Advanced Flying School as the top of his class. All of this would pave the way for him to complete his world known flight of 1927. Lindbergh's flight had a phenomenal impact that has carried over into today's society. Lindbergh's transatlantic flight had economical, cultural, social and political impacts that will not be soon forgotten. Many of the impacts are still relevant today. Economical impacts include the impact made of the air industry as a major field and on the prosperity felt on American society. Impacts culturally were through works by Lindbergh and works about Lindbergh. Socially Lindbergh connected America to the rest of the world and was then considered to be an International Hero. And political effects include the strengthening of America and France's relationship and Lindbergh's acts as a political figure.
Lindbergh's transatlantic flight had a huge economical impact on the air industry. The boom that the aviation industry felt after the flight was enormous. Commercial air travel became considered safer and people began to consider it to be a valuable form of transportation. After his flight, Lindbergh would undertake a tour of cities from coast to coast. This would demonstrate to the public that planes where as reliable and as able to maintain regular schedules as trains and other methods of transportation. At the time, no one besides Lindbergh was capable of making this kind of statement (Gill 182). A total of thirty million people were estimated to have seen Lindbergh at some point during his flight, and there was no doubt that interests in air travel and air mail was greatly increasing for the public. Before the Lindbergh's famous flight, the U.S. Post Office had been carrying less that one hundred thousand pounds in airmail in April. After the flight the amount of airmail carried by the U.S. Post Office was almost one hundred and fifty thousand pounds. The Post Master accredited this increase entirely to Lindbergh (Gill 184). As the commercial air travel and airmail industries grew, so did employment opportunities for these industries. The employment of pilots, stewardesses, airport workers, airmail sorter and support staff skyrocketed. Lindbergh paved the way for subsidies to be given in America for airports to be in towns across the nation and to increase the routes and distances airplanes and people could travel (Lindbergh 293). The number of applicants seeking an air pilots licenses exceeded anyone's expectations (Hardesty 104). As the need and desire for air travel and airmail boomed so did the employment availabilities.
Lindbergh's feat also had an economic impact in that it brought new prosperity to the American society, as well as helping modernize it (Gill 174). Lindbergh's flight was not only profitable for him, but for the American people as well. The "Lindbergh Boom" followed in the Maloney 3
wake of his flight. Stocks in aviation and sales of aircraft increased rapidly. The aviation industry suddenly had new capital investments available. Airlines grew...
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