27. Charles Lindbergh: A Superstar Pilot

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Charles Lindbergh is an American hero, who took the nation, and the world by storm as a 25-year-old pilot in 1927. That was the year Lindbergh flew from New York City to Paris across the Atlantic Ocean solo. Aviation technology was not very advanced during that time period. Lindbergh's plane The Spirit of St. Louis was believed by many to be simply too small to make the solo flight across the great Atlantic. Just carrying enough fuel for the flight was a challenge, and so was the trip itself. Because of the limitations on the speed of aircraft at the time, it would take many hours to make the trip; it was generally accepted that a pilot could not make it alone. Lindbergh would not be deterred though.

Lindbergh was working as a mail pilot when he decided to make his cross-Atlantic flight. Six well-known and trained aviators had lost their lives trying to make the flight before him, so his odds for success were not in his favor. On the morning of May 20, 1927, Lindbergh launched his small plane from Roosevelt Field in New York, and determined to reach Paris. The flight was an international event as Lindbergh's progress was reported by report stations throughout his flight. Lindbergh faced many dangers and challenges during his flight, including foul weather, and flying blind through thick fog. He also had to fight his fatigue during the nearly 54-hour flight.

It was all well worth the trouble when Lindbergh landed in Paris on Saturday night, May 21, 1927. More than 150,000 French citizens had gathered to join the celebration of his historic flight. Lindbergh had become an international superstar literally overnight. He came home to an adoring American public that celebrated his fame with a parade through the streets of New York City.

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