The “Spirit of St. Louis” Ryan NYP
Charles Lindbergh flew into history aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on May 20, 1927. This would be the first successful attempt to fly a solo nonstop transatlantic flight from Long Island, New York to Paris, France. Lindbergh won the $25,000 Orteig Prize which was offered to the first allied aviator to fly non-stop from New York to Paris or in either direction.
There were several unsuccessful attempts made by famous aviators before an unknown American pilot named Charles Lindbergh aboard the Spirit of St. Louis Ryan NYP landed at Aéroport Le Bourget in Paris, France on May 21, 1927. This historic flight took 33 hours 30 minutes and covered a distance of approximately 3,600 miles (5,800 km). Charles Lindbergh’s New York-to-Paris transatlantic flight made him instantly famous around the world.
First Solo Transatlantic Flight: Charles Lindbergh, Spirit of St. Louis 1927
He quickly became a media sensation as he captured the imagination of millions of people around the world. On the very same day of his historic flight, the U.S. Post Office issued a commemorative 10-cent “Lindbergh Air Mail” stamp depicting the Spirit of St. Louis over a map of its historic flight from New York to Paris, France. This was also the first time that the U.S. Post Office issued a commemorative stamp of a living person.
For 10 months after Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight, he flew his Spirit of St. Louis across Latin America and the United States on goodwill and promotional tours. Thousands of people would flock to the airfields to get a glimpse of the Sprit of St. Louis and world famous aviator. Each stop along Lindbergh’s travels drew more and more crowds. Especially, in the United States during Lindbergh’s 3 month tour.
The Spirit of St. Louis made a total of 174 flights before she was officially retired on April 30, 1928. Charles Lindbergh and his Spirit of St. Louis flew one last time together while making a hop from St. Louis, Missouri to Bolling Field in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 1928. This was exactly one year and two days after the Spirit of St. Louis’s first flight from Dutch Flats in San Diego, California on April 28, 1927.
Charles Lindbergh presented his monoplane to the Smithsonian Institution. For more than eight decades, the Spirit of St. Louis has been on display. She hung for 48 years from 1928 thru 1976 in the Arts and Industries Building. Today, the Spirit of St. Louis is hanging in the atrium of the National Air and Space Museum alongside SpaceShipOne and the Bell X-1.
Spirit of St. Louis Plane
The Spirit of St. Louis Plane was actually an X-Plane and specifically designed to fly nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean. The Spirit of St. Louis is a single-seat monoplane designed around the dependable Wright J-5 Whirlwind radial engine. Lindbergh believed that a multi-engine aircraft would have the potential for mechanical issues and felt his best chance to make the transatlantic flight would be with a single engine aircraft.
The Spirit of St. Louis was a state-of-the-art design and the most advanced and aerodynamically streamlined designs of its era. Its long wing span and its ability to carry a sufficient amount of fuel made this aircraft perfectly suited for a nonstop transatlantic flight. The Spirit of St. Louis was officially known as the “Ryan NYP” (for New York to Paris). The single-engine Spirit of St. Louis was designed by Donald A. Hall of Ryan Airlines.
The airplane was named the Spirit of St. Louis in honor of the St. Louis Raquette Club which were supporters of Lindbergh and from his hometown in St. Louis, Missouri. She was designed and built in San Diego, California and only took 60 days to complete. It cost $10,580 ($144,931 in 2015) USD to complete the aircraft with the instruments, engine and other aircraft parts offered at cost.
Ryan Airlines owner Mahoney agreed to build the plane and said that there his company would not profit from the project. The Spirit of St. Louis was being built at cost for Charles Lindbergh who wired Ryan Airlines and asked, “Can you construct Whirlwind engine plane capable flying nonstop between New York and Paris?” Mahoney was not at his his aircraft factory, but Ryan answered, “Can build plane similar M-1 but larger wings? Delivery about three months.”
Charles Lindbergh wired back that due to the Orteig Prize, delivery of the airplane in less than three months was crucial. The prize for crossing the Atlantic was $25,000 and several well known aviators have already made unsuccessful attempts. Mahoney telegraphed Charles Lindbergh back on the very the same day and said they could complete the aircraft in two months. The rest as they say is history!
Spirit of St. Louis Cockpit
The Spirit of St. Louis Cockpit is primitive by todays standards and was cutting edge in 1927. The cockpit was extremely small and cramped for Charles Lindbergh. In fact, the cockpit was so small that Lindbergh could not even stretch his legs. every inch of space was utilized and only essential instruments were installed in the aircraft in order to save weight for the transatlantic flight.
Charles Lindbergh insisted on saving weight and stressed this to the engineers at Ryan Airlines. He even went as far as cutting the top and bottom off of his flight map. This is one of the main reasons why Charles Lindbergh’s cramped cockpit was only 94 cm wide, 81 cm long and 130 cm high (36 in × 32 in × 51 in). This made for an extremely unfordable flight for a man that was 6′ 3″ tall.
One feature the Spirit of St. Louis does not have is a front windshield. As you can see in the photo above, the control panel and flight instruments are right in front of the pilot. Ryan Aircraft installed a horizontal periscope in order to see in front of the aircraft. Lindbergh could also look outside the aircraft windows as well. This is just one more ingenious way they used to save weight on the aircraft.
Inside the Spirit of St. Louis Cockpit, Lindberg carried cantons of drinking water, a bag of sandwiches, a life raft, a snap sack with survival gear and his maps and charts. In front of the cockpit are 3 fuel tanks which are a 28 gallon oil tank, an 89 gallon fuel tank and a 209 gallon fuel tank. Every inch of space was needed for these fuel tanks, that’s why there was not a forward looking windshield installed on the aircraft.
HISTORY CHANNEL Documentary: “The Secret Lives of Charles Lindbergh” (2009)
In order to better understand the historic transatlantic flight in 1927, you have to know about the man behind the machine. Charles Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Michigan on February 4, 1902. His birth name was Charles Augustus Lindbergh, named after his father and his mothers name was Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh. He spent most of his childhood in Little Falls, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C.
Ever since he was a little boy, Lindbergh had a strong interest in the mechanics of motorized transportation which included his family’s Saxon Six automobile and his beloved Excelsior motorbike. By the time Lindbergh enrolled in college as a mechanical engineering student, he became fascinated with flight even though he never had a close up view of an airplane. He grew up in a time where aviation was in its infancy and had a mystique about it.
Thrill seekers from around the world became aviators and were always pushing the envelope. Lindbergh’s love of aviation eventually forced him to quit college in February of 1922. Right after quitting college, Lindbergh enrolled at the Nebraska Aircraft Corporation’s flying school in Lincoln, Nebraska. He flew for the very first time on April 9, 1922 as a passenger in a two-seat Lincoln Standard “Tourabout” biplane trainer piloted by Otto Timm.
Soon after that flight, Lindbergh began flying lessons but was never able to solo because he could not afford to post the requisite damage bond. Not known to many people is that Lindbergh became a barnstormer in order to gain flight experience and earn some extra money. Lindbergh spent the next few months barnstorming across Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Kansas and Nebraska as a wing walker and parachutist. He also worked as an airplane mechanic for a brief time at the Billings, Montana municipal airport.
Charles Lindbergh made his first solo flight in May of 1923 at Southern Field in Americus, Georgia. In October 1925, Charles was hired by the Robertson Aircraft Corporation (RAC) at the Lambert-St. Louis Flying Field in Anglum, MO. He had already been working for this company as a flight instructor and was the first to lay out and then serve as chief pilot for the newly designated 278-mile (447 km) Contract Air Mail Route #2 (CAM-2). Lindbergh flew with three other RAC pilots Harlan A. “Bud” Gurney, Philip R. Love and Thomas P. Nelson and flew the mail over CAM-2. Each pilot flew a modified version of war-surplus de Havilland DH-4 biplanes.
Charles Lindbergh Flight
The Charles Lindbergh Flight was a milestone in aviation history and opened the door to modern air travel today. This was the first intercontinental nonstop flight between two major cities, New York and Paris. Flying across the Atlantic was the equivalent of going to the Moon, it was never done before. Even though Lindburgh’s flight was not the first transatlantic flight. It was the first nonstop transatlantic flight.
It was 7:52 a.m on Friday May 20, 1927 when Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in New York across the Atlantic Ocean to Paris, France. Lindbergh’s monoplane was loaded with 450 U.S. gallons (1,704 liters) of fuel that had to be strained repeatedly in order to avoid fuel line blockage. The fully loaded Spirit od St. Louis weighed approximately 5,135 lbs. (2,329 kg) with takeoff being hampered by a muddy and rain soaked runway.
The historic nonstop transatlantic flight took 33 hours 30 minutes and covered a distance of approximately 3,600 miles (5,800 km). During Lindbergh’s 33 1⁄2 hour flight, he and the Spirit of St. Louis faced many obstacles which included flying over storm clouds at over 10,000 ft (3,000 m) and flying over wave tops at as low as 10 ft or (3.0 m). The Spirit of St. Louis also fought icing and flew blind through dense fog for several hours.
Lindbergh was forced to navigated only by dead reckoning which he was not proficient at. However, he managed to fly through these obstacles and was able to land his monoplane at Le Bourget Aerodrome at 10:22 p.m. on Saturday May 21, 1927. The airfield in Paris was not marked on Lindbergh’s map. He knew that the airfield was about seven miles northeast of the city. Thousands of cars were caught in what is still “the largest traffic jam in Paris history” to witness Lindbergh’s historic landing.
Flight of the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome’s Spirit of St. Louis, May 21, 2016 – This Is A MUST SEE Video!
It’s impossible to travel back in time and see the Spirit of St. Louis make her historic transatlantic flight. However, we can see a real-life replica of the Spirit of St. Louis in flight and hear the sounds and smell the smells of this historic aircraft. Get ready to witness the first public flight of the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome’s Spirit of St. Louis which took off on May 21, 2016 at the Spirit of the Aerodrome Gala in Red Hook, NY.
The aircraft in this video is a 100% accurate reproduction of the Spirit of St. Louis which include 3 instruments that were donated by the Smithsonian Institution Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. These instruments are identical to those in the original Spirit of St. Louis that Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic. The instruments donated by the Smithsonian Institution Air & Space Museum have the same manufacturer and model number.
Go ahead and take a step back in time and watch the incredible video above now. You’ll get to see what aviation was really like in 1927 and experience the golden age of aviation as if you were transported back in time. This particular airplane did fly once before with a but with a less historically accurate rudder. The rudder was replaced with a historically accurate rudder for this flight so sit back and enjoy the flight!
I hope you enjoyed the video as much as I did. So, now that you know all about Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis. How would you like to experience what it’s really like to fly this historic aircraft? You are moments away from flying a 100% accurate virtual reproduction of the historic Spirit of St. Louis. You will not find a more realistic flight experience anywhere online and you can fly this magnificent airplane right from your desktop!
Fly The Spirit of St. Louis!
All right Pilots! Now is your chance to fly the LEGENDARY Spirit of St. Louis Plane NOW! You are just a click away from flying into history aboard the Spirit of St. Louis. See if you’ve got what it takes to fly nonstop across the Atlantic just like Charles Lindbergh did in 1927.
This is the most accurate flight model of the Spirit of St. Louis ever created for a flight simulator game! Every nut, bolt and instrument is perfectly replicated inside the World’s MOST REALISTIC flight simulator game, Virtual Pilot 3D! This is the most sophisticated and advanced flight simulator game ever created for the public so get ready for an intense flying experience that is second to none! If it’s in aviation, than it’s in this flight simulator game.
Virtual Pilot 3D is the BEST flight simulator game that you’ve never heard about until today. This is NOT your daddy’s flight simulator game and not for those that are faint of heart. This is the MOST REALISTIC flight experience you can get without jumping into the cockpit of a real-life airplane. Virtual Pilot 3D is NOT available in stores and is ONLY available online so make sure you download your copy of Virtual Pilot 3D TODAY!
Go ahead and and click on the orange button below to fly the Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic NOW! You’ll be taken to Virtual Pilot 3D’s official page where you can read all about this incredible flight simulator game. I hope you don’t get airsick because there’s no turning back once you take off! Click on the button below now and I’ll see you on the next page.
I’ll see you aboard the Spirit of St. Louis pilot!