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Charles Lindbergh Essay, Research Paper

Lindbergh, Charles Augustus (1902-1974), American aviator,

engineer, and Pulitzer Prize winner, who was the first person to make a

nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born February 4, 1902, in Detroit

and was delivered by his great-uncle. When he was three years old, his

three-story house burned down and a simpler home was built in its place.

From the age of six he had his own gun and soon became an expert

marksman. His mother, Evangeline Lindbergh, first enrolled him in

school in Washington when he was eight, but he was not a pupil that

paid attention. He would attend eleven schools within a ten-year period

but would never finish a full academic year in any of them. Charles just

never learned to enjoy sitting in a classroom. Charles developed and

constructed a system for moving the ice from the icehouse to the icebox

when he was nine years old. When he was ten years old, his father

arrived from Washington one summer behind the wheel of a Model T

Ford, As soon as Charles was tall enough to reach the pedals, he quickly

became a better driver than either of of his parents and drove his mother

all over the place. He attended the University of Wisconsin for two years

but withdrew to attend a flying school in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Lindbergh made his first airplane flight on April 9, 1922 and four

years later he piloted a mail plane between St. Louis, Missouri, and

Chicago. He decided to compete for a prize of $25,000 offered in 1919 by

the Franco-American philanthropist Raymond B. Orteig of New York City

for the first nonstop transatlantic solo flight between New York City and

Paris. In his single-engine monoplane, Spirit of St. Louis, Lindbergh left

Roosevelt Field at 7:52 AM on May 20, 1927. After a flight of 33 hours 32

minutes, he landed at Le Bourget Airport near Paris. Twenty thousand

men and women were at the airport waiting for hours to see the man who

flew across the Atlantic. As soon as Lindbergh stood up in the cockpit, the

cheers of 20,000 voices were raised: ?Lindbergh! Lindbergh! Lindbergh!?

His achievement won the enthusiasm and acclaim of the world, and he was

greeted as a hero in Europe and the U.S. He was later commissioned a

colonel in the U.S. Air Service Reserve and was a technical adviser to

commercial airlines. He made ?goodwill tours? of Mexico, Central America,

and the West Indies. Lindbergh flew over Yucatan and Mexico in 1929 and

over the Far East in 1931, and in 1933 he made a survey of more than

30,000 miles for transatlantic air routes and landing fields. Lindbergh also

collaborated with the French surgeon Alexis Carrel in experiments to

develop an artificial heart pump. Despite early promising results the

experiments were finally given up without entirely achieving their purpose.

The two men were co-authors of The ?Culture of Organs? in 1938.

On a Tuesday night, March 3, 1932 Charles returned from New York

and had dinner with his wife, Anne. She and the nurse, Betty Gow, had

earlier put the baby to bed, Charles? first child. Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr.,

his 19-month-old son, slept in a second-floor bedroom. After dinner the

three searched the house where the child was nowhere to be found. He

then found a ransom note on the window sill demanding $50,000 and

where to deliver it. This kidnapping attracted nationwide attention.

Lindbergh received another note from the kidnappers, complaining about

the publicity and warning that nothing would happen until everything

calmed down and they also raised the ransom demand to $70,000. John

Codon, a volunteer middle-man for Lindbergh to deal with the kidnappers,

exchanged the money at a nearby cemetery with a kidnapper?s contact for

an envelope telling them where to find the child. The directions were fake

and Lindbergh was tricked. Several weeks later Charles got word that the

baby?s body had been found in the woods. He identified the body and

became determined to find the killers. A German-born carpenter, Bruno

Richard Hauptmann, was later found guilty of the crime and was executed.

To avoid further publicity, the Lindberghs moved to Europe in 1935.

Lindbergh toured the Continent and studied the air forces of various

countries. He accepted a decoration from Adolf Hitler and praised the

German air force as superior to that of any other European country. On his

return to the U.S. in 1939, Lindbergh toured the country and made a series

of antiwar speeches. He was criticized as being pro-German and was

forced to resign his commission in the air corps reserve and his

membership in the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. During

World War II, Lindbergh was a civilian consultant to aircraft manufacturers

and was sent on missions to the Pacific area and to Europe for the U.S. Air

Force. He died on August 26, 1974, on Maui, Hawaii.

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