Charles Lindbergh will always be remembered for completing the first transatlantic flight, leaving New York City on May 20 and landing in Paris and in history on May 21, 1927. The crowd greeted him with such intensity that a speech was impossible, and when he stepped out of the cockpit and into the throngs, his feet did not touch the ground for half an hour.
Even without that historic flight, Lindbergh's story would thrill, affording us a firsthand glimpse into the colorful, risk-filled world of the professional pilot in the early days of flight.
In April 1923, Lindbergh purchased his first plane, a Jennie, for $500. He used the open-cockpit biplane to make his living in the West "barnstorming," flying from town to town, offering the locals a flight for five dollars. As entertainment, or to drum up business, he sometimes spiced up a visit by dropping a straw-filled dummy from the plane, parachuting into town, or even standing on the wing while his copilot flew. And the flights themselves were anything but dull. Besides the real possibility of crashing, hair-raising takeoffs were almost routine. Surviving a brush with some treetops in Meridian, Mississippi, Lindbergh writes with characteristic understatement, "I had passed through one of those almost-but-not-quite accidents for which Jennies are so famous and which so greatly retarded the growth of commercial flying."
Seventy-five years after the Spirit of St. Louis touched down in Paris, The Lyons Press republishes "We," Lindbergh's own account of his place in history.show more