Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic

Charles LindberghCharles Lindbergh

In 1919 a wealthy New Yorker, Raymond Orteig, offered a prize of $25,000 to the first person to fly nonstop between New York City and Paris, starting in either the USA or France. During the next six years six famous fliers – some American, some French – died trying to win it.

Then, early in the morning of 20 May 1927, an unknown airman called Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in his specially designed plane, the Spirit of Saint Louis, and landed at Le Bourget, Paris, almost 34 hours later. About 150,000 people were waiting for him. Some pulled him out of the cockpit and carried him above their heads for half an hour, while others raided his plane for souvenirs.

Lindbergh really deserved this welcome, because his flight had been rough. His aircraft hardly managed to take off because of all the gasoline it had to carry. The weather was terrible, and Lindbergh had to fly through storms, ice and thick fog.

And how did he navigate? By the stars at night, and by a compass and, probably, good luck during the day. When Lindbergh returned to the USA he was given another spectacular welcome, including a parade down Fifth Avenue. And, of course, he won the prize!


Choose the sentence in each pair which gives correct information:

1a. Six Frenchmen died trying to win the prize.
1b. Six airmen died trying to win the prize.

2a. Charles Lindbergh was famous before he made his flight.
2b. Charles Lindbergh became famous because of his flight.

3a. The Spirit of Saint Louis was the only aircraft of its type.
3b. The Spirit of Saint Louis was an ordinary, mass-produced aircraft.

4a. Lindbergh’s flight was difficult.
4b. Lindbergh’s flight was easy.

5a. Lindbergh had very advanced navigational equipment.
5b. Lindbergh had rather primitive navigational equipment.

Activities for the links below

  1. Read the article called “The Crime of the Century”. Then answer these questions:
    a. Who was kidnapped?
    b. Who was known as “the Lone Eagle”?
    c. Who was Anne Morrow?
    d. Who was Betty Gow?
    e. Who was Al Capone?
    f. Who was John Condon?
    g. Who was Bruno Hauptmann?
    h. Who was Isidor Fisch?

    Finally, use all these names to make a very brief summary of “The Crime of the Century”.
  2. Things have changed since Lindbergh’s time! When you have read about Michael O’Leary’s plans (see the second link below), write sentences of your own, not connected with Mr O’Leary’s plans but with contemporary aviation in general,  including these words and phrases:

    a. a transatlantic airline
    b. wide-bodied planes
    c. long-haul aircraft
    d. executives
    e. duty free
    f. low-fare service
    g. American carriers
    h. ahead of
    i. to accelerate growth
    j. environmental impact


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Sist oppdatert: 01.04.2009

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