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Charles Lindbergh

Aviation pioneer

Died when: 72 years 203 days (870 months)
Star Sign: Aquarius

 

Charles Lindbergh

Charles Augustus Lindbergh (February 4, 1902 – August 26, 1974) was an American aviator, military officer, author, inventor, and activist.At the age of 25 in 1927, he went from obscurity as a U.S.

Air Mail pilot to instantaneous world fame by winning the Orteig Prize for making a nonstop flight from New York City to Paris on May 20–21.

Lindbergh covered the 33+1⁄2-hour, 3,600-statute-mile (5,800 km) flight alone in a purpose-built, single-engine Ryan monoplane, the Spirit of St.Louis.

Though the first non-stop transatlantic flight had been completed eight years earlier, this was the first solo transatlantic flight, the first transatlantic flight between two major city hubs, and the longest transatlantic flight by almost 2,000 miles.

Thus it is widely considered a turning point in world history for the development and advancement of aviation, ushering in a new era of transportation between parts of the globe.

Lindbergh was an officer in the U.S.Army Air Corps Reserve and received the United States' highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his transatlantic flight.

His achievement spurred significant global interest in both commercial aviation and air mail, which revolutionized the aviation industry worldwide, and he devoted much time and effort to promoting such activity.

In March 1932, Lindbergh's infant son, Charles Jr., was kidnapped and murdered in what the American media called the "Crime of the Century." The case prompted the United States Congress to establish kidnapping as a federal crime if a kidnapper crosses state lines with a victim.

By late 1935, the hysteria surrounding the case had driven the Lindbergh family into exile in Europe, from where they returned in 1939.

In the years before the United States entered World War II, Lindbergh's non-interventionist stance and statements about Jews led some to suspect that he was a Nazi sympathizer, although Lindbergh never publicly stated support for Nazi Germany.

He opposed not only the intervention of the United States but also the provision of aid to the United Kingdom.

He supported the antiwar America First Committee and resigned his commission in the U.S.Army Air Forces in April 1941 after President Franklin Roosevelt publicly rebuked him for his views.

In September 1941, Lindbergh gave a significant address, titled "Speech on Neutrality", outlining his views and arguments against greater American involvement in the war.

Lindbergh did ultimately express public support for the U.S. war effort after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent United States declaration of war upon Germany.

He flew 50 missions in the Pacific Theater of World War II as a civilian consultant, but did not take up arms, as Roosevelt refused to reinstate his Air Corps colonel's commission.

In his later years, Lindbergh became a prolific author, international explorer, inventor, and environmentalist, eventually dying of lymphoma in 1974 at age 72.


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