Little Known Facts About Charles Lindbergh

Almost everyone knows Charles Lindbergh was the first person to fly non-stop across the Atlantic, from New York to Paris. How many people know he developed the first artificial heart? Read more about the man.

Almost everyone knows Charles Lindbergh was the first aviator to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic, from New York to Paris. How many people also know he was the first person to develop an artificial heart? There are a lot of other facts not widely known about the man as well.

Lindbergh had a father who was a lawyer and a United States Congressman. His father encouraged him when he showed a mechanical ability. According to an article in the September/October Saturday Evening Post, when his father was a congressman, Charles once locked the doors of the bathrooms at the U.S. Capitol and threw lightbulbs onto the street below.

Because of his mechanical ability, Charles Lindbergh went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the age of 18, to study engineering. He had a greater interest in aviation, however, and left after two years to attend Lincoln Flight School in Nebraska.

For the next few years he performed daredevil stunts at county fairs and carnivals. In 1926 he also piloted a mail plane between St. Louis and Chicago.

He enlisted in the United States Army, on his father's advice, to be trained as an army air service reserve pilot.

In 1919 Raymond Orteig, a New York City hotel owner, offered $25,000 to the first aviator to fly non-stop across the Atlantic. Several people tried and failed.

In 1927 Lindbergh flew with a Wright Whirlwind Plane with no brakes that he nicknamed "The Spirit of Saint Louis." He left Newark Field in New York and became the first person to fly across the Atlantic after landing in Paris. He made the trip in 33 hours. The press nicknamed him "Lucky Lindy" and the "Lone Eagle."

Lindbergh was hailed as a hero back home and elsewhere in the world. After landing in Paris, a band played "The Star Spangled Banner." A shy man, Charles was terrified when a number of French girls tried to kiss him.

The Paris Aero Club offered him 150,000 Francs for his flight, the equivalent of $6,000. Lindbergh refused the money and told the club to give it instead to the families of French aviators who had been killed.



Considered a hero, Lindbergh was a goodwill ambassador for the American government. He flew to several Latin American countries. It was then he met and married Anne Spencer Marrow. The two flew together and charted flight plans for airline companies that are still used today.

Before World War II, the American government also requested that he fly to Nazi Germany to meet with officials there.

He did and was given a medal by Nazi leader Herman Goring. Even though he went at the request of the American government and provided valuable information to his country about Germany, he was criticized by some for accepting the medal. He was also criticized for not speaking out against the Germans.

He and Anne left the United States for awhile and went to Europe because of the press attention after their baby was kidnapped and killed. After a new federal law called the "Lindbergh" law was passed, making kidnapping a federal crime, the two returned.

He was criticized even more for speaking out against the United States joining the war after joining the America First Committee. The same man who had been considered a worldwide hero was now wrongly considered a traitor by some.

In spite of that when the United States did become involved in the war, he acted as a civilian consultant to companies making planes for the war. He had resigned his military commission after President Roosevelt criticized him for speaking out against the war but flew 50 combat missions as a civilian during the war.

He had a definite interest in science. Besides inventing the artificial heart, he studied how to measure and project infrared waves and studied gorrillas and gibbons because of his interest in immunology. He also wrote to government and hospital officials throughout the world concerning using planes to control tsetse flies, locusts and yellow fever in Alaska.

He dreamed of space travel. When others considered space pioneer Robert Goddard a "mad scientist," Lindbergh spoke out for him.

He was years ahead of his time. When Apollo XI astronauts returned to earth he declined an invitation from President Nixon to meet with them. He had avoided publicity and the press for years because of negative publicity caused by his trip to Germany and attention when his baby was kidnapped. Years earlier he had declined an invitation to dine with Winston Churchill.

He was best known for his flight across the Atlantic. Charles Lindbergh, the scientist, airline consultant during the war, civilian combat flier, goodwill agent and advisor to the American government after visiting Germany, meant a lot to his country for many other reasons as well, however. His wife became a famous writer and poet.

Charles, wrote a book, "The Sprit of St. Louis," for which he received a Pulitzer Prize.

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