Lindbergh, Charles

Lindbergh, Charles (Augustus)

(1902–1974) aviator; born in Detroit, Mich. Pilot, inventor, author, and environmentalist, he made the first solo transatlantic airplane flight in 1927 and returned to America a hero and celebrity of unsurpassed dimension. The son of a Minnesota congressman, Lindbergh showed early mechanical aptitude as well as physical daring. He brought a war surplus Curtiss "Jenny" biplane in 1923 and barnstormed the Midwest and South, completed army flight training in 1925, and worked as an airmail pilot on the pioneering St. Louis-Chicago run. In pursuit of a $25,000 prize, he lifted off from Roosevelt Field, N.Y., in a monoplane named Spirit of St. Louis on May 20, 1927, crossed the Atlantic, and landed at LeBourguet Field near Paris after 33 1/2 hours—a flight of 3,600 miles. "The Lone Eagle," as he became known, made a series of epic flights during the 1930s, many with his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh. In one of America's most notorious crimes, the couple's infant son was kidnapped and murdered in 1932; four years later Bruno Hauptman, protesting his innocence to the last, was put to death for the crime. Lindbergh worked with Dr. Alexis Carrel on experiments that led to the development of an artificial heart. Impressed by German military power, especially in the air, he campaigned for American neutrality in the years leading up to World War II. During the war years he served as a consultant for Ford and the United Aircraft Company. Shy, and at periods almost reclusive, Lindbergh began to appear more often in public in later years as a spokesman for environmental conservation. His autobiography, The Spirit of St. Louis (1932), won a Pulitzer Prize; his wife was the best-selling author of Gift from the Sea (1955) and other books.

Lindbergh, Charles

(1902–1974) U.S. aviator; made the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight (1927). [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1586]
See: Firsts