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The Flight

Charles Lindbergh’s Daring and Immortal 1927 Transatlantic Crossing

By Dan Hampton
13-minute read
Audio available
The Flight by Dan Hampton

The Flight (2017) is a riveting account of Charles Lindbergh’s groundbreaking solo flight across the Atlantic, from New York to Paris. Besides a detailed account of what it was like for Lindbergh in the cockpit, author Dan Hampton adds valuable historical and biographical context, which shows why the flight of the Spirit of St. Louis was so important to so many people. 

  • Fans of American history and aviation
  • Readers who enjoy fascinating stories about iconic figures
  • Anyone curious about life inside a cockpit

Dan Hampton is a New York Times best-selling author who served in the United States Air Force for 20 years, becoming a highly decorated officer, with a Purple Heart and four Distinguished Flying Crosses. His previous books include Viper Pilot and The Hunter Killers.

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The Flight

Charles Lindbergh’s Daring and Immortal 1927 Transatlantic Crossing

By Dan Hampton
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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The Flight by Dan Hampton
Synopsis

The Flight (2017) is a riveting account of Charles Lindbergh’s groundbreaking solo flight across the Atlantic, from New York to Paris. Besides a detailed account of what it was like for Lindbergh in the cockpit, author Dan Hampton adds valuable historical and biographical context, which shows why the flight of the Spirit of St. Louis was so important to so many people. 

Key idea 1 of 8

Charles Lindbergh’s flight over the Atlantic was as important as it was dangerous.

It was a muddy New York morning at Roosevelt Field on Friday, May 20, 1927. As the clock struck 7:52 a.m., a plane being flown by a young airmail pilot named Charles Augustus Lindbergh took off and ascended into the gray sky. His destination: Paris, France. 

Known as “Slim” among his friends, due to his tall and slender frame, Lindbergh was attempting to be the first pilot to make a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the first non-stop flight from North America to mainland Europe. Lindbergh wasn’t the first to attempt these feats, though. Six people had already died in the attempt, including two French war veterans, Charles Nungesser and François Coli. 

Just 12 days earlier, these two French pilots perished in their attempt to cross in the other direction, from France to New York. Their plane, L’Oiseau Blanc, was last seen traveling northwest over the west coast of Ireland. They were never seen or heard from again. 

The incentive to make this dangerous non-stop flight between New York and Paris was partially monetary. Raymond Orteig, a French-American hotel owner, was offering a handsome $25,000 reward to the first pilot who made it. But the truly ambitious aviators were after the glory. The flight would prove to the world that aviation was the way of the future, and planes were going to bring people and nations closer together. 

These pilots were eager to silence the critics who persisted in suggesting that flight was just a passing fad. Indeed, if Lindbergh's flight were to succeed, it would open the door for many advancements, including transatlantic mail and intercontinental passenger flights. Many people were eager to avoid weeklong boat trips through stormy waters and were fascinated by the idea of crossing the Atlantic in mere hours.

It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that the future of aviation rested on Charles Lindbergh’s slim shoulders. And so, freighted with this emotional and cultural baggage, the young aviator piloted his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, out over open waters.

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