HIST-018, Sect. 3940
30 Nov. 2012
HIST-018, Sect. 3736
30 Nov. 2012, Research Paper
The Dynamic Life of Charles A. Lindbergh
Most people know Charles A. Lindbergh as being the first aviator to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean. This historic event for which he earned world-wide acclaim occurred when Charles was a young man after which he continued, throughout his relatively long life, to remain in the public eye and to contribute significantly to our country, to our culture, and to our world. Over the course of this document we will explore the man, his fascinating life, and the many diverse events, some trivial, some humorous, and some quite significant, that will help us to understand him in terms of the events that shaped him and that contributed to the heroic image for which he is recognized throughout the world.
Charles A. Lindbergh was born on February 4, 1902, in Detroit, Michigan (Ranfranz). The family later moved to his boyhood home in Little Falls, Minnesota along the Mississippi River. The house is now an historical site and a popular tourist attraction where people can go to see, among other things, ax marks on the floor where young Charles chopped wood for the kitchen stove right in the kitchen. There are also burn marks visible on the dining room floors which were accidentally left when Charles would hatch chickens in incubators. The bathroom plumbing from the Lindbergh House used to empty right into the Mississippi River (MNHS)!
Charles’ father was a United States Congressman as well as a lawyer. At a very early age Charles began displaying a talent for mechanical things and was encouraged by his father to develop his skills and interests in that area. He also was known to have an occasional tendency towards mischievous behavior as was printed in an article once in the Saturday Evening Post. The Post article stated that, according to his congressman father, Charles once locked himself in one of the bathrooms at the U.S. Capitol and threw light bulbs out the window onto the streets below (Berg 46).
His great interest in mechanics caused him to attend the University of Wisconsin in Madison where he studied engineering. But, because of his poor academic standing, he was asked to leave the school after a year and a half. Soon afterwards, he developed a great devotion for aviation, at which time he began attending the Lincoln Flight School in Nebraska (Milton 22). He spent a few years after that performing at carnivals and state fairs performing daredevil stunts. He also piloted a mail plane between St. Louis and Chicago in 1926 (Ranfranz). Taking advice from his father, he enlisted in the army to train as an army air service reserve pilot (Milton 89).
In 1927, Lindbergh took up a challenge that was made in 1919 by a New York hotel owner, Raymond Orteig, who was offering $25,000 to the first aviator who could fly across the Atlantic Ocean, non-stop (Ranfranz). Many people had already attempted this fete and some had died trying. Lindbergh had a Wright Whirlwind Plane which has no brakes which he had nicknamed “The Spirit of Saint Louis.” He departed from New York’s Roosevelt Field in Long Island and landed at Le Bourget airfield in Paris, France to become the first person to fly non-stop across the Atlantic (Lindbergh, Charles 149). Just 48 hours before the historic flight, a rival pilot was caught trying to pour sugar into Lindbergh’s fuel tank (Anderson). Charles originally was going to take off from Curtiss Field, but Roosevelt Field had a longer runway (1 mile long), which he ended up needing because he almost flew into a power line during his take off (Funtrivia). It is said that he took with him just four sandwiches, two canteens of water, and 451 gallons of gasoline. During his flight he got lost...