May 20, 2008 marked the 81st anniversary of the first solo flight over the North Atlantic Ocean by Charles A. Lindbergh.
Although Alcock and Brown had flown the first flight over the Atlantic Ocean on June 14, 1919 when they took off from Lester's Field in Mount Pearl and landed in Clifden, Ireland, almost eight years would elapse before Lindbergh would make the fist solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean.
On May 20, 1927, flying his monoplane The Spirit of St. Louis, which was powered by a single 220 hp engine, he took off from Roosevelt Field Airport, New York, and flew nonstop to make a safe landing at Le Bourget Airport, Paris. The total flying time of his flight was 33 hours and 29 1/2 minutes. At that time Lindberg was 25 years of age, and for his achievement he received a prize of $25,000.
In retrospect, it may be assumed that Lindberg chose the Great Circle course because, in global navigation, the Great Circle course is the shortest distance between any two points on the globe. Because the cabin of the Spirit of St. Louis was not pressurized, he would have flown at the lower altitudes, such as 5000, 7000 or 9000 feet above sea level, depending on general flying conditions.
If the assumption is correct, Lindberg may have flown over the eastern part of the island of Newfoundland and the Spirit of St. Louis may have been seen by some residents of the Avalon Peninsula and by the crews of ships on the Atlantic Ocean.
Lindberg had the rank of captain in the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) at the time of his famous solo flight. In later years in his career, he held the rank of Brigadier General. He died in 1974 at the age of 72 years. The Spirit of St. Louis is kept in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, USA.
In the airport town of Gander, Charles Augustus Lindberg is remembered in the street named Lindbergh Avenue. Likewise, the two famous aviators Alcock and Brown are remembered by the streets named Alcock Crescent and Brown Crescent.
Roderick B. Goff
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