Exploration and Settlement

Northwest Passage

When was the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight made?

It was in 1927: On May 21, at 10:24 P.M., American Charles A. Lindbergh (1902–1974) landed his single-engine monoplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, at Le Bourget Air Field, Paris, after completing the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight. Lindbergh, declining to take a radio in order to save weight for an additional 90 gallons of gasoline, had taken off in the rain from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York, at 7:55 A.M. on May 20. The plane was so heavy with gasoline (a total of 451 gallons of it) that the Spirit of St. Louis had barely cleared telephone wires upon takeoff. Lindbergh covered 3,600 miles (about a third of it through snow and sleet) in 33 hours, 29 minutes. He won a $25,000 prize, which was offered in 1919, and became a world hero—hailed as the “Lone Eagle.” His autobiography, titled The Spirit of St. Louis (published 1953), won the aviator the Pulitzer prize.


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