Charles Augustus Lindbergh (1902-1974) was a famous American aviator, military officer, explorer, inventor, author, environmental activist, and one of the most inspirational figures in aviation history.
Lindbergh was born on Feb. 4, 1902, in Detroit, Michigan, United States and was the only child of Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh and Charles August Lindbergh. His father, Charles August Lindbergh Sr. served as a U.S. Congressman from Minnesota’s 6th congressional district from 1907 to 1917, and his grandfather had also been the secretary to the King of Sweden.
Charles was antisocial while young and made few friends while attending schools in Washington, D.C, Minnesota, and Little Falls. Being a loner, he spent of his time with animals and fiddling with machines to keep him company.
Lindbergh attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison to pursue mechanical engineering. He had difficult times settling at the University, and he eventually quitted the course after two years. Charles had developed a strong passion for aviation and wanted to become a pilot. He decided to enroll at a flying school in Lincoln, Nebraska. He did very well in training, and he became a talented pilot with excellent reflexes and was able to fly under pressure.
Do you want to learn more about Charles Lindbergh? Here are some interesting facts about this famous American Aviator:
1. Lindbergh became one of the early aviation heroes when he managed to fly from New York City to Paris without stopping. It was the first ever successful nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. He flew the Ryan airplane which was named “the Spirit of St. Louis.”
He used the custom-built aircraft to compete for the 25,000 USD Orteig Prize for the first non-stop flight between New York and Paris. It took Charles 33 hours and 30 minutes to complete the solo flight successfully. Charles’ gutsy flight made him an instant celebrity. H became a topic of discussion around the world. He returned to the US and President Clavin Coolidge presented him with the Distinguished Flying Cross.
2. The United States Army used Curtiss JN-4HM “Jenny” biplanes during World War I. When the Great War ended, the government of United States decided to sell off the extra Jennys, for a fraction of their initial costs. For as little as $200, pilots were able to acquire JN-4s (Jennys). Lindbergh was among these pilots as he bought his own plane.
3. Charles was not the first person to make a transatlantic crossing in a plane. Some years before his New York-to-Paris flight, several other pioneering aviators had completed the airborne crossing of the Atlantic. Most of them made the journey in numerous stages or used lighter-than-air dirigibles.
But in 1919, two British pilots Arthur Brown and John Alcock famously flew a Vickers Vimy biplane nonstop from Newfoundland to Ireland before crash landing in a bog. Charles’ greatest achievement wasn’t that he was the first pilot to cross the Atlantic, but rather that he flew directly between two great world cities and did it alone.
4. On March 1, 1932, Lindbergh’s happy family was devastated when unknown people abducted their 2-year-old son, Charles Augustus, Jr. from their home in New Jersey. The Lindbergh family was inundated by thousands of offers of assistance, including one from none other than “Scarface” himself—Al Capone.
The Gangster had offered to use his Mafia contacts to help track down the kidnapped kid. Capone offered to help in exchange for his release from jail under the pretense that his criminal connections would be more effective. Capone released a statement offering his condolences to the Lindbergh family as he waited to be transferred to prison on tax evasion charges.
The gangster went ahead to put up a $10,000 reward for any information that would lead to the arrest of the kidnappers. Lindbergh declined the offer, but he reached out to other underworld figures who claimed they had information that will lead to the arrest of perpetrators.