Charles Lindbergh

Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


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  Charles Lindbergh—Aviator

February 4, 1902, Detroit Michigan, 2:30 AM CST, or, alternatively, 3:02 AM, LMT. (Source Sabian Symbols, Famous Nativities) Died of lymphoma cancer, August 26, 1974, in Maui, Hawaii.           

(Ascendant, Sagittarius, with Uranus conjunct Moon, both in Sagittarius and rising in the first house; Sun and Mars in Aquarius; Mercury and Venus in Pisces; Jupiter and Saturn in Capricorn; Neptune and Pluto in Gemini)          

Charles W. Lindbergh was a pioneer in the field of aviation, famous because of his solo, non-stop flight from New York to Paris on May 20-21, 1927, after which he was celebrated as a world-hero . As an author he won the Pulitzer prize in 1954 for his autobiography, The Spirit of St. Louis.       

Aquarius and Sagittarius are both progressive, forward-looking signs. Aquarius has always been associated with revolutionary possibilities, and is the sign (with its exoteric ruler, Uranus) most associated with aviation. Lindbergh was a man who single-mindedly followed his Sagittarian vision and his Aquarian dream of demonstrating that a solo trans-Atlantic flight was, indeed, possible. After this feat of daring, he was seen as a global citizen (Aquarius), who contributed to the sense of a unified humanity. His solo flight was one of the first major symbols of the Aquarian ideal of global community.

Although we may easily find the fifth ray of mechanics in Lindbergh’s ray profile, and the seventh ray (helping to usher in aspects of the new Aquarian civilization), it is the idealism of the sixth ray which emerges most strongly. With Ascendant, Moon and Uranus (aviation) all in Sagittarius (a sign transmitting primarily the sixth ray), we see in Lindbergh, an idealist, with his eye upon a distant goal, and the will to follow his vision, despite the danger, until the final destination is reached. He set an example of courage and resourcefulness which, to this day, serves as an inspiration and a source of upliftment.


Is he alone who has courage on his right hand and faith on his left hand?

Isn't it strange that we talk least about the things we think about most?

It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you have wanted to do so badly. You almost feel like you could fly without the plane.

Living in dreams of yesterday, we find ourselves still dreaming of impossible future conquests.

Man must feel the earth to know himself and recognize his values... God made life simple. It is man who complicates it.

To a person in love, the value of the individual is intuitively known. Love needs no logic for its mission.
(Venus in Pisces)

I owned the world that hour as I rode over it…. free of the earth, free of the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably I was bound to them.
ATTRIBUTION: On flying above the Rocky Mountains, quoted by Leonard Mosley Lindbergh Doubleday 78
(Sagittarius Ascendant & Moon)

: He makes fuzz come out of my bald patch!
ATTRIBUTION: On his son’s driving ability, quoted by Leonard Mosley Lindbergh Doubleday 76

: It was a love of the air and sky and flying, the lure of adventure, the appreciation of beauty. It lay beyond the descriptive words of men—where immortality is touched through danger, where life meets death on equal plane; where man is more than man, and existence both supreme and valueless at the same time.
ATTRIBUTION: Contemplating his first parachute jump, The Spirit of St Louis Scribner’s 53

Life [is] a culmination of the past, an awareness of the present, an indication of a future beyond knowledge, the quality that gives a touch of divinity to matter.
ATTRIBUTION: “Is Civilization Progress?” Reader’s Digest Jul 64

If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.
ATTRIBUTION: Recalled on his death 26 Aug 74

I have seen the science I worshiped, and the aircraft I loved, destroying the civilization I expected them to serve.

In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.
ATTRIBUTION: Declaring that if he were a young man he would choose a career that kept him more in contact with nature than with science, Life 22 Dec 67

“Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance.” (Sagittarius Ascendant)

“Our ideals, laws and customs should be based on the proposition that each generation, in turn, becomes the custodian rather than the absolute owner of our resources and each generation has the obligation to pass
this inheritance on to the future.”
(Sun in Aquarius)

“How long can men thrive between walls of brick, walking on asphalt pavements, breathing the fumes of coal and of oil, growing, working, dying, with hardly a thought of wind, and sky, and fields of grain, seeing only machine-made beauty, the mineral-like quality of life?”

“It was not the outer grandeur of the Roman but the inner simplicity of the Christian that lived through the ages.”

“Real freedom lies in wildness, not in civilization.”
(Uranus in Sagittarius)

LINDBERGH FLIES ALONE Alone? Is he alone at whose right side rides Courage, with Skill within the cockpit and faith upon the left? Does solitude surround the brave when Adventure leads the way and Ambition reads the dials? Is there no company with him, for whom the air is cleft by Daring and the darkness made light by Emprise? True, the fragile bodies of his fellows do not weigh down his plane; true, the fretful minds of weaker men are missing from his crowded cabin; but as his airship keeps its course he holds communion with those rare spirits that inspire to intrepidity and by their sustaining potency give strength to arm, resource to mind, content to soul. Alone? With what other companions would man fly to whom the choice were given?
(Uranus in Sagittarius opposition Pluto in Gemini)

Night already shadows the eastern sky. To my left, low on the horizon, a thin line of cloud is drawing on its evening sheath of black. A moment ago, it was burning red and gold.

"This was love at first sight, love everlasting: a feeling unknown, unhoped for, unexpected--in so far as it could be a matter of conscious awareness; it took entire possession of him, and he understood, with joyous amazement, that this was for life." -

"What kind of man would live a life without daring? Is life so sweet that we should criticize men that seek adventure? Is there a better way to die?"

At first you can stand the spotlight in your eyes. Then it blinds you. Others can see you, but you cannot see them.

If one took no chances, one would not fly at all. Safety lies in the judgment of the chances one takes. That judgment, in turn, must rest upon one’s outlook on life. Any coward can sit in his home and criticize a pilot for flying into a mountain in fog. But I would rather, by far, die on a mountainside than in bed.

“Not long ago, when I was a student in college, just flying an airplane seemed a dream. But that dream turned into reality.”

"Flying has torn apart the relationship of space and time. It uses our old clock but with new yardsticks."

"What freedom lies in flying, what Godlike power it gives to men... I lose all consciousness in this strong unmortal space crowded with beauty...."

"Science, freedom, beauty, adventure... aviation offers it all."

“I hope you either take up parachute jumping or stay out of single motored airplanes at night.”

I watched him strap on his harness and helmet, climb into the cockpit and, minutes later, a black dot falls off the wing two thousand feet above our field. At almost the same instant, a while streak behind him flowered out into the delicate wavering muslin of a parachute — a few gossamer yards grasping onto air and suspending below them, with invisible threads, a human life, and man who by stitches, cloth, and cord, had made himself a god of the sky for those immortal moments.

A day or two later, when I decided that I too must pass through the experience of a parachute jump, life rose to a higher level, to a sort of exhilarated calmness. The thought of crawling out onto the struts and wires hundreds of feet above the earth, and then giving up even that tenuous hold of safety and of substance, left me a feeling of anticipation mixed with dread, of confidence restrained by caution, of courage salted through with fear. How tightly should one hold onto life? How loosely give it rein? What gain was there for such a risk? I would have to pay in money for hurling my body into space. There would be no crowd to watch and applaud my landing. Nor was there any scientific objective to be gained. No, there was deeper reason for wanting to jump, a desire I could not explain.

It was that quality that led me into aviation in the first place — it was a love of the air and sky and flying, the lure of adventure, the appreciation of beauty. It lay beyond the descriptive words of man — where immortality is touched through danger, where life meets death on equal plane; where man is more than man, and existence both supreme and valueless at the same instant.

Why does one want to walk wings? Why force one's body from a plane to make a parachute jump? Why should man want to fly at all? People often ask these questions. But what civilization was not founded on adventure, and how long could one exist without it? Some answer the attainment of knowledge. Some say wealth, or power, is sufficient cause. I believe the risks I take are justified by the sheer love of the life I lead.

"Life without risks is not worth living."


Charles Lindbergh

Born February, 1902
Detroit, Michigan
Died August 26, 1974
Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii
Charles Augustus Lindbergh (February 4, 1902 – August 26, 1974), known as "Lucky Lindy" and "The Lone Eagle," was an American aviator famous for piloting the first non-stop flight alone from New York to Paris in 1927.

In the years prior to World War II, Lindbergh was a noted isolationist, and was a leader in the movement to keep the US out of the coming war. He was a strong advocate of the movement and the resolution of conflict with Germany.

Introduction to aviation
Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Swedish immigrants. He spent summers on a farm near Little Falls, Minnesota but also spent time in Detroit and Washington, DC. His father, Charles Lindbergh Sr., was a lawyer and later a U.S. Congressman who opposed the entry of the U.S. into World War I; his mother was a teacher. Lindbergh, for a short time, attended Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, California.[1]

Note: Lindbergh was not a junior since his middle name was not the same as his father's. From Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg: "But he[Lindbergh] would be her only child - named for his father, with the addition of a syllable to the middle name: Charles Augustus Lindbergh."

Early on, he showed an interest in machinery (first his family's Saxon Six, later his own Excelsior motorbike and, finally, airplanes). In 1922, he quit the mechanical engineering program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, joined a pilot and mechanics training program with Nebraska Aircraft, bought his own plane, a World War I-surplus Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny," and became a barnstormer, the "Daredevil Lindbergh."[2] In 1924, he started training as a pilot with the Army Air Service. During this time he also held a job as an airline mechanic in Billings, Montana, working at Logan International Airport.

After finishing first in his pilot training class, Lindbergh took his first job as the chief pilot of an airmail route operated by Robertson Aircraft Co. of Lambert Field in St. Louis, Missouri. He flew the mail in a de Havilland DH-4 biplane to Springfield, Peoria and Chicago, Illinois. During his tenure on the mail route, he was renowned for delivering the mail under any circumstances. After a crash, he even salvaged stashes of mail from his burning aircraft and immediately phoned Alexander Varney, Peoria's airport manager, to advise him to send a truck.

In April 1923, while visiting friends in Lake Village, Arkansas, Lindbergh made his first ever nighttime flight over Lake Village and Lake Chicot.

First non-stop flight New York to Paris

Lindbergh drives through a parade in downtown Atlanta where crowds line the street on October 11, 1927.The Orteig Prize, a $25,000 prize offered by New York hotelier, Raymond Orteig a frenchman in 1919 for the first flight from New York City to Paris spurred a great amount of interest worldwide. Either an easterly flight from New York or a westbound flight from Paris would qualify, consequently, the first challengers were French war heroes, Captain Charles Nungesser and Raymond Coli (his navigator) who had taken off May 8, 1927 on a westbound flight in the Levasseur PL 8, nicknamed the L'Oiseau Blanc. The aircraft disappeared after the last known contact made as the flyers crossed the coast of Ireland. Other teams including famed WWI "ace" René Fonck, Clarence Chamberlin (who made the second non-stop flight across the Atlantic two weeks after Lindbergh, landing in Eisleben, Germany near Berlin) and Admiral Richard E. Byrd, were also in the race to claim the Orteig Prize. The race had become more deadly when Noel Davis and Stanton H. Wooster were killed when the former’s New York to Paris entry crashed while Charles N. Clavier and Jacob Islaroff were burned to death at Roosevelt Field when Captain René Fonck’s Sikorsky plane nosed over in taking off(from weight).

Lindbergh gained sudden great international fame as the first pilot to fly solo and non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean, flying from Roosevelt Airfield (Nassau County, Long Island), New York to Paris on May 20-May 21, 1927 in his single-engine aircraft The Spirit of St. Louis which had been designed by Donald Hall and custom built by Ryan Airlines of San Diego, California. He needed 33.5 hours for the trip. (His grandson Erik Lindbergh repeated this trip 75 years later in 2002 in 17 hours 17 minutes.) The President of France bestowed on him the French Legion of Honor and, on his arrival back in the United States, a fleet of warships and aircraft escorted him to Washington, D.C. where President Calvin Coolidge awarded him the Distinguished Flying Cross on June 11, 1927.

Lindbergh's accomplishment won him the Orteig Prize; more significant than the prize money was the acclaim that resulted from his daring flight. A ticker-tape parade was held for him down 5th Avenue in New York City on June 13, 1927.[3] His public stature following this flight was such that he became an important voice on behalf of aviation activities until his death. including the central committee of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in the United States. On March 21, 1929, he was presented the Medal of Honor for his historic trans-Atlantic flight.

Lindbergh's Medal of HonorThe massive publicity surrounding him and his flight boosted the aircraft industry and made a skeptical public take air travel seriously. Lindbergh is recognized in aviation for demonstrating and charting polar air-routes, high altitude flying techniques, and increasing aircraft flying range by decreasing fuel consumption. These innovations are the basis of modern intercontinental air travel.

Although Lindbergh was the first to fly solo from New York to Paris non-stop, he was not the first aviator on a transatlantic heavier-than-air aircraft flight. That had been done first in stages by the crew of the NC-4, in May 1919, although their flying boat broke down and had to be repaired before continuing. The NC-4 flights took 19 days to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Marriage, children, kidnapping

According to a Biography Channel profile on Lindbergh, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the daughter of diplomat Dwight Morrow, was the only woman he had ever asked out on a date. The couple were married on May 27, 1929, and he taught her how to fly and did much of his exploring and charting of air routes with her. They had six children: Charles Augustus Lindbergh III (1930-1932), Jon Lindbergh (b.1932), Land Morrow Lindbergh (b.1937) who studied anthropology at Stanford University and married Susan Miller in San Diego, Anne Lindbergh (1940-1993), Scott Lindbergh (b.1942) and Reeve Lindbergh (b.1945), a writer.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh III, 20 months old, was abducted on March 1, 1932, from the Lindbergh home. After a nationwide 10-week search and ransom negotiations with the kidnappers, an infant corpse, identified by Lindbergh as his son, was found on May 12 in Jefferson, New Jersey, just a few miles from the Lindberghs' home. More than three years later, a media circus ensued when the man accused of the murder, Bruno Hauptmann, went on trial in British Columbia. Tired of being in the spotlight and still mourning the loss of their son, the Lindberghs moved to Europe in December 1935. Hauptmann, who maintained his innocence until the end, was found guilty and was executed on April 3, 1936.

Pre-war activities
In Europe, during the pre-war period, Lindbergh traveled to Germany several times at the behest of the U.S. military, where he reported on German aviation and the Luftwaffe (air force). Lindbergh was intrigued, and stated that Germany had taken a leading role in a number of aviation developments, including metal construction, low-wing designs, dirigibles, and Diesel engines. Lindbergh also undertook a survey of aviation in the Soviet Union in 1938 and reported to the United States military upon his return from each of these trips.

The Lindberghs lived in England and Brittany, France during the late 1930s in order to find tranquility and avoid the celebrity that followed them everywhere in the United States after the kidnapping trial.

While living in France, Lindbergh worked with Nobel Prize-winning French surgeon Dr. Alexis Carrel, with whom he had collaborated on earlier projects when the latter lived in the United States. In 1930, Lindbergh's sister-in-law developed a fatal heart condition. Lindbergh began to wonder why no one could repair hearts with surgery. He discovered it was because organs could not be kept alive outside the body, and set about working on a solution to the problem with Carrel. Lindbergh's invention, a glass perfusion pump, was credited with making future heart surgeries possible.[4] The device in this early stage was far from perfected, however. Although perfused organs were said to have survived surprisingly well, all showed progressive degenerative changes in a few days.[5] Carrel also introduced Lindbergh to eugenics and scientific racism, which would be one of the main factors in shaping the controversial views on foreign policy he would later divide his native country and eventually ruin his public reputation by advocating.[6]

In 1929, Lindbergh became interested in the work of U.S. rocket pioneer Robert Goddard. The following year, Lindbergh helped Goddard secure his first endowment from Daniel Guggenheim, which allowed Goddard to expand his independent research and development. Lindbergh remained a key supporter and advocate of Goddard's work throughout his life.

Lindbergh's German EagleIn 1938, Lindbergh and Carrel collaborated on a book, The Culture of Organs, which summarized their work on perfusion of organs outside the body. Lindbergh and Carrel discussed an artificial heart[7] but it would be decades before one was actually built.

Since 2002, the annual Lindbergh-Carrel Prize is awarded at a Charles Lindbergh Symposium for an outstanding contribution to development of perfusion and bioreactor technologies for organ preservation and growth.

But his involvement with German aviation brought Lindbergh back into the American limelight once again. In 1938, the American ambassador to Germany, Hugh Wilson, invited Lindbergh to a dinner with Hermann Göring at the American embassy in Berlin. The dinner included diplomats and three of the greatest minds of German aviation, Ernst Heinkel, Adolf Baeumaker and Dr. Willy Messerschmitt. Göring presented Lindbergh with the Service Cross of the German Eagle (the Großkreuz des Deutschen Adlers) for his services to aviation and particularly for his 1927 flight (Henry Ford received the same award earlier in July). Lindbergh's acceptance of the honour later caused an outcry in the United States.

Lindbergh declined to return the medal to the Germans because he claimed that to do so would be "an unnecessary insult" to the German Nazi government. He returned to the United States soon after World War II broke out in Europe.

Lindbergh and the Munich Crisis
Lindbergh went to Germany at the urgent request of the US Military Attaché in Berlin, who was charged with learning everything possible about Germany's new warplanes. Thus Lindbergh traveled repeatedly to Germany, touring German aviation facilities, where the Luftwaffe Chief tried to convince Lindbergh that the Luftwaffe was far more powerful than it actually was. Lindbergh used his prestige to gain far more knowledge of German warplanes than any American. As historian Wayne Cole explains:

"Of particular importance were the Junkers Ju 88 and, again, the Messerschmitt Bf 109. With the approval of Goering and Ernst Udet, Lindbergh was the first American permitted to examine the Luftwaffe's newest and best bomber, the Ju 88. And he got the unprecedented opportunity to pilot its finest fighter, the Bf 109. He was highly impressed by both aircraft and knew "of no other pursuit plane which combines simplicity of construction with such excellent performance characteristics" as the Bf 109. In his visits to Germany from 1936 through 1938, Colonel Lindbergh closely inspected all the types of military aircraft that Germany was to use against Poland, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and England in 1939 and 1940. The Bf 109 and Ju 88 were front-line German combat planes throughout World War II. And Lindbergh's findings about those various planes found their way into American air intelligence reports to Washington long before the European war began."[8]

At the urging of U.S. Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, Lindbergh wrote a secret memo for the British arguing that if England and France attempted to stop Hitler's aggression, it would be military suicide. Some military historians argue that Lindbergh was basically accurate and that his warnings helped save Britain from likely defeat in 1938. Others say that his actions were beneficial to the Third Reich's war effort. In fact, it is said that Goering intentionally used Lindbergh to keep the French and British at bay while maneuvering in Eastern Europe.[citation needed] There is a case for both of these arguments, as Lindbergh favored a war between Germany and Russia, but deplored the war between Germany and Britain. In Charles A. Lindbergh and the Battle against American Intervention in World War II, Cole explains how Lindbergh was dismayed that pacifism in France had already left that country without a sufficient military and possibly already doomed by 1938, and that Britain had an outdated military still focused on naval power instead of an updated air arsenal to deter the Luftwaffe and force Hitler to turn his ambitions eastward toward a war against "Asiatic Communism." There is some controversy as to how accurate his alarmism concerning the Luftwaffe was, but Cole reports that the general consensus among British and American officials was that it was slightly exaggerated but nevertheless badly needed.

Lindbergh and Nazi Germany
1941 cartoon by Dr. Seuss.Because of his numerous scientific expeditions to Nazi Germany, combined with a belief in eugenics, Lindbergh was tarred as a Nazi sympathizer. FDR considered him a Nazi and banned him from joining the military. Lindbergh's subsequent combat missions as a civilian consultant restored his reputation after the public found out about them, but only to an extent. However, his much acclaimed and Pulitzer Prize winning biographer A. Scott Berg contends that Lindbergh was not so much a supporter of the Nazi regime as someone so stubborn in his convictions and relatively inexperienced in political maneuvering that he easily allowed rivals to portray him as one, and that in his support for the America First Committee he was merely giving voice to the sentiments of some American people. In 1938, the war had not yet begun in Europe, and the German medal was approved without objection by the American embassy. It did not cause controversy until the war began and he returned to the United States in 1939 to spread his message of non-intervention. His anti-Communism resonated deeply with many Americans, and many of his views were common before World War II (Eugenics and Nordicism enjoyed much social acceptance in the pre-war era. [9] and other notable enthusiasts of such ideas included Theodore Roosevelt,[10] Winston Churchill[11] and George S. Patton[12]).

Outbreak of war
As World War II began in Europe, Lindbergh became a prominent speaker in favor of non-intervention, going so far as to recommend that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Germany during his January 23, 1941 testimony before Congress. He joined the antiwar America First Committee and soon became its most prominent public spokesman, speaking to overflow crowds in Madison Square Garden in New York City and Soldier Field in Chicago.

In a speech at an America First rally on September 11, 1941 in Des Moines, Iowa entitled "Who Are the War Agitators?" Lindbergh claimed that three groups had been "pressing this country toward war: the Roosevelt Administration, the British and the Jews" and complained about what he insisted was the Jews' "large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government." Although he made clear his opposition to German anti-Semitism, stating that "All good men of conscience must condemn the treatment of the Jews in Germany," other comments seemed to suggest that he believed that Jews should expect trouble for supporting the war: "Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way for they will be among the first to feel its consequences. Tolerance is a virtue that depends upon peace and strength. History shows that it cannot survive war and devastation."[26]

There was widespread negative reaction to the speech, and Lindbergh was forced to defend and clarify his comments by noting again that he was not anti-Semitic, but he did not back away from his statement. Lindbergh resigned his commission in the U.S. Army Air Corps when President Roosevelt openly questioned his loyalty (which did severe damage to his reputation at the time). After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Lindbergh attempted to return to the Army Air Corps, but was denied when several of Roosevelt's cabinet secretaries registered objections.

World War II
Charles Lindbergh went on to assist with the war effort by serving as a civilian consultant to aviation companies, beginning with Ford in 1942, working at the Willow Run B-24 production line. Later in 1943, he joined United Aircraft as an engineering consultant, devoting most of his time to its Chance-Vought Division. As a technical advisor with Ford, he was deeply involved in trouble-shooting early problems encountered in B-24 production. As B-24 production smoothed out, he devoted more time to Chance-Vought. The following year, he persuaded United Aircraft to designate him a technical representative in the Pacific War to study aircraft performances under combat conditions. He showed Marine F4U pilots how to take off with twice the bomb load that the aircraft was rated for and on May 21, 1944 he flew his first combat mission. It was with VMF-222 on a strafing run near the Japanese garrison of Rabaul[27].

In his six months in the Pacific in 1944, Lindbergh took part in fighter bomber raids on Japanese positions, flying about 50 combat missions (again as a civilian). His innovations in the use of P-38s impressed a supportive Gen. Douglas MacArthur.[28] Despite the long range exhibited by the P-38 Lightning leading to missions such as the one that killed Admiral Yamamoto, Lindbergh's contributions included engine-leaning techniques that he introduced to P-38 Lightning pilots. These techniques greatly improved fuel usage while cruising, enabling the aircraft to fly even longer-range missions. On July 28, 1944 during a P-38 bomber escort mission with the 475th Fighter Group, Fifth Air Force, in the Ceram area, Lindbergh is credited with shooting down a Sonia observation plane piloted by Captain Saburo Shimada, Commanding Officer of the 73rd Independent Chutai[29][30]. The US Marine and Army Air Force pilots who served with Lindbergh admired and respected him, praising his courage and defending his patriotism regardless of his politics.[31][32]

Later life
The Spirit of St. Louis on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.After World War II he lived quietly in Connecticut as a consultant both to the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force and to Pan American World Airways. Much of Europe having fallen under Communist control, Lindbergh believed most of his pre-war assessments had been correct all along. But Berg reports that after witnessing the defeat of Germany and the horrors of the Holocaust firsthand shortly after his service in the Pacific, "he knew the American public no longer gave a hoot about his opinions." His 1953 book The Spirit of St. Louis, recounting his non-stop transatlantic flight, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1954. Dwight D. Eisenhower restored Lindbergh's assignment with the Army Air Corps and made him a Brigadier General in 1954. In that year, he served on the congressional advisory panel set up to establish the site of the United States Air Force Academy. In December 1968, he visited the crew of Apollo 8 on the eve of the first manned spaceflight to leave earth orbit.

From 1957 until his death in 1974, Lindbergh had an affair with a woman 24 years his junior, German hat maker Brigitte Hesshaimer who lived in a small Bavarian town called Geretsried (35 km south of Munich). On November 23, 2003, DNA tests proved that he fathered her three children: Dyrk (1958), Astrid (1960), and David (1967). The two managed to keep the affair secret; even the children did not know the true identity of their father, whom they saw when he came to visit once or twice per year using the alias name "Careu Kent". Astrid later read a magazine article about Lindbergh and found snapshots and more than a hundred letters written from him to her mother. She disclosed the affair after both Brigitte and Anne Morrow Lindbergh had died.

It is speculated that Lindbergh may also have fathered two children by Brigitte’s sister Marietta (Vago, 1962; and Christoph, 1966), and two more children with his private secretary Valeska (a son in 1959 and a daughter in 1961).

From the 1960s on, Lindbergh became an advocate for the conservation of the natural world, campaigning to protect endangered species like humpback and blue whales, was instrumental in establishing protections for the "primitive" Filipino group the Tasaday and African tribes, and supporting the establishment of a national park. While studying the native flora and fauna of the Philippines, he also became involved in an effort to protect the Philippine eagle. In his final years, Lindbergh became troubled that the world was out of balance with its natural environment; he stressed the need to regain that balance, and spoke against the introduction of supersonic airliners.

Lindbergh's speeches and writings later in life emphasized his love of both technology and nature, and a lifelong belief that "all the achievements of mankind have value only to the extent that they preserve and improve the quality of life." In a 1967 Life magazine article, he said, "The human future depends on our ability to combine the knowledge of science with the wisdom of wildness."

In honor of Charles and his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh's vision of achieving balance between the technological advancements they helped pioneer, and the preservation of the human and natural environments, every year since 1978 the Lindbergh Award has been given by the Lindbergh Foundation to recipients whose work has made a significant contribution toward the concept of "balance".

His final book, Autobiography of Values, was published posthumously.


Charles Lindbergh Biography

The life of an aviator seemed to me ideal. It involved skill. It brought adventure. It made use of the latest developments of science. Mechanical engineers were fettered to factories and drafting boards while pilots have the freedom of wind with the expanse of sky. There were times in an aeroplane when it seemed I had escaped mortality to look down on earth like a God.
– Charles A. Lindbergh, 1927

Charles Augustus Lindbergh-Overview

Lindbergh, Charles Augustus (1902-1974), an American aviator, made the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean on May 20-21, 1927. Other pilots had crossed the Atlantic before him. But Lindbergh was the first person to do it alone nonstop.

Lindbergh's feat gained him immediate, international fame. The press named him "Lucky Lindy" and the "Lone Eagle." Americans and Europeans idolized the shy, slim young man and showered him with honors.

Before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, Lindbergh campaigned against voluntary American involvement in World War II. Many Americans criticized him for his noninvolvement beliefs. After the war, he avoided publicity until the late 1960's, when he spoke out for the conservation of natural resources. Lindbergh served as an adviser in the aviation industry from the days of wood and wire airplanes to supersonic jets.

Born on Feb. 4, 1902, in Detroit

Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born on Feb. 4, 1902, in Detroit. He grew up on a farm near Little Falls, Minn. He was the son of Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Sr., a lawyer, and his wife, Evangeline Lodge Land. Lindbergh's father served as a U.S. congressman from Minnesota from 1907 to 1917.

In childhood, Lindbergh showed exceptional mechanical ability. At the age of 18 years, he entered the University of Wisconsin to study engineering. However, Lindbergh was more interested in the exciting, young field of aviation than he was in school. After two years, he left school to become a barnstormer, a pilot who performed daredevil stunts at fairs.

Enlisted in the United States Army

In 1924, Lindbergh enlisted in the United States Army so that he could be trained as an Army Air Service Reserve pilot. In 1925, he graduated from the Army's flight-training school at Brooks and Kelly fields, near San Antonio, as the best pilot in his class. After Lindbergh completed his Army training, the Robertson Aircraft Corporation of St. Louis hired him to fly the mail between St. Louis and Chicago. He gained a reputation as a cautious and capable pilot.

Orteig prize

In 1919, a New York City hotel owner named Raymond Orteig offered $25,000 to the first aviator to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. Several pilots were killed or injured while competing for the Orteig prize. By 1927, it had still not been won. Lindbergh believed he could win it if he had the right airplane. He persuaded nine St. Louis businessmen to help him finance the cost of a plane. Lindbergh chose Ryan Aeronautical Company of San Diego to manufacture a special plane, which he helped design. He named the plane the Spirit of St. Louis. On May 10-11, 1927, Lindbergh tested the plane by flying from San Diego to New York City, with an overnight stop in St. Louis. The flight took 20 hours 21 minutes, a transcontinental record.

May 20, 1927

On May 20, Lindbergh took off in the Spirit of St. Louis from Roosevelt Field, near New York City, at 7:52 A.M. He landed at Le Bourget Field, near Paris, on May 21 at 10:21 P.M. Paris time (5:21 P.M. New York time). Thousands of cheering people had gathered to meet him. He had flown more than 3,600 miles (5,790 kilometers) in 33 1/2 hours.

Lindbergh's heroic flight thrilled people throughout the world. He was honored with awards, celebrations, and parades. President Calvin Coolidge gave Lindbergh the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Flying Cross.


Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis visited Fargo, ND on Friday, August 26, 1927. Murray Baldwin (President of the Fargo Aeronautic Club), Lindbergh, Fargo Mayor J.H. Dahl

After the flight

In 1927, Lindbergh published We, a book about his transatlantic flight. The title referred to Lindbergh and his plane. Lindbergh flew throughout the United States to encourage air-mindedness on behalf of the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics. Lindbergh learned about the pioneer rocket research of Robert H. Goddard, a Clark University physics professor. Lindbergh persuaded the Guggenheim family to support Goddard's experiments, which later led to the development of missiles, satellites, and space travel. Lindbergh also worked for several airlines as a technical adviser.

Guggenheim Tour

Before Charles Lindbergh left for Paris, Harry Guggenheim, a North Shore multimillionaire and aviation enthusiast, visited him at Curtiss Field. "When you get back from your flight, look me up," said Guggenheim, who later admitted he didn't think there was much chance Lindbergh would survive the trip.

Lindbergh remembered and did call upon his return. It was the beginning of a friendship that would have a profound impact on the development of aviation in the United States. The two decided Lindbergh would make a three-month tour of the United States, paid for by a fund Harry and his father, Daniel, had set up earlier to encourage aviation-related research.

Daniel Guggenheim Fund sponsored Lindbergh on a three month nation-wide tour. Flying the "Spirit of St. Louis," he touched down in 49 states, visited 92 cities, gave 147 speeches, and rode 1,290 miles in parades.

"Lindbergh was seen by literally millions of people as he flew around the country," said Richard P. Hallion, historian for the Air Force and the author of a book on the Guggenheims. "Airmail usage exploded overnight as a result," and the public began to view airplanes as a viable means of travel.

In addition, Lindbergh spent a month at Guggenheim's Sands Point mansion, Falaise, while writing "We," his best-selling 1927 account of his trip.

John Luther "Jack" Maddux, head of Maddux Airlines based in Los Angeles is on the left; Helene and Jack Jr. are on the right of Lindbergh. Image owned by

At the request of the U.S. government, Lindbergh flew to various Latin-American countries in December 1927 as a symbol of American good will. While in Mexico, he met Anne Spencer Morrow, the daughter of Dwight W. Morrow, the American ambassador there. Lindbergh married Anne Morrow in 1929. He taught her to fly, and they went on many flying expeditions together throughout the world, charting new routes for various airlines. Anne Morrow Lindbergh also became famous for her poetry and other writings.

Lindbergh invented an artificial heart

Lindbergh invented an "artificial heart" between 1931 and 1935. He developed it for Alexis Carrel, a French surgeon and biologist whose research included experiments in keeping organs alive outside the body. Lindbergh's device could pump the substances necessary for life throughout the tissues of an organ.

Charles Augustus, Jr. kidnapping

On March 1, 1932, the Lindberghs' 20-month-old son, Charles Augustus, Jr., was kidnapped from the family home in New Jersey. About ten weeks later, his body was found. In 1934, police arrested a carpenter, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, and charged him with the murder. Hauptmann was convicted of the crime. He was executed in 1936.

The press sensationalized the tragedy. Reporters, photographers, and curious onlookers pestered the Lindberghs constantly. In 1935, after the Hauptmann trial, Lindbergh, his wife, and their 3-year-old son, Jon, moved to Europe in search of privacy and safety.

The Lindbergh kidnapping led Congress to pass the "Lindbergh law." This law makes kidnapping a federal offense if the victim is taken across state lines or if the mail service is used for ransom demands.

German medal of honor

While in Europe, Lindbergh was invited by the governments of France and Germany to tour the aircraft industries of their countries. Lindbergh was especially impressed with the highly advanced aircraft industry of Nazi Germany. In 1938, Hermann Goering, a high Nazi official, presented Lindbergh with a German medal of honor. Lindbergh's acceptance of the medal caused an outcry in the United States among critics of Nazism.

Opposed voluntary American entry into World War II

Lindbergh and his family returned to the United States in 1939. In 1941, he joined the America First Committee, an organization that opposed voluntary American entry into World War II. Lindbergh became a leading spokesman for the committee. He criticized President Franklin D. Roosevelt's foreign policies. He also charged that British, Jewish, and pro-Roosevelt groups were leading America into war. Lindbergh resigned his commission in the Army Air Corps after Roosevelt publicly denounced him. Some Americans accused Lindbergh of being a Nazi sympathizer because he refused to return the medal he had accepted.

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Lindbergh stopped his noninvolvement activity. He tried to reenlist, but his request was refused. He then served as a technical adviser and test pilot for the Ford Motor Company and United Aircraft Corporation (now United Technologies Corporation).

50 combat missions

In April 1944, Lindbergh went to the Pacific war area as an adviser to the United States Army and Navy. Although he was a civilian, he flew about 50 combat missions. Lindbergh also developed cruise control techniques that increased the capabilities of American fighter planes.

Withdrew from public attention

After the War, Lindbergh withdrew from public attention. He worked as a consultant to the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. President Dwight D. Eisenhower restored Lindbergh's commission and appointed him a brigadier general in the Air Force in 1954. Pan American World Airways also hired Lindbergh as a consultant. He advised the airline on its purchase of jet transports and eventually helped design the Boeing 747 jet. In 1953, Lindbergh published The Spirit of St. Louis, an expanded account of his 1927 transatlantic flight. The book won a Pulitzer Prize in 1954.

Conservation movement

Lindbergh traveled widely and developed an interest in the cultures of peoples in Africa and the Philippines. In the late 1960's, he ended his years of silence to speak out for the conservation movement. He especially campaigned for the protection of humpback and blue whales, two species of whales in danger of extinction. Lindbergh opposed the development of supersonic transport planes because he feared the effects the planes might have on the earth's atmosphere.

Died of cancer on Aug. 26, 1974

Lindbergh died of cancer on Aug. 26, 1974, in his home on the Hawaiian island of Maui. After his death, he was buried on the beautiful grounds of the Palapala Ho'omau Church. The Autobiography of Values, a collection of Lindbergh's writings, was published in 1978.


Charles Lindbergh lived his last days on the lush Hana coast. Today he lies at rest on the serene grounds of the Palapala Ho'omau Church in beautiful Kipahulu. The limestone coral church was built in 1857. Lindbergh's grave is under the shade of a Java plum tree. Before he died, he sketched a simple design for his grave and coffin.

The inscription reads: Charles A. Lindbergh Born: Michigan, 1902. Died: Maui, 1974. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea. -- CAL


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