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Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh with the Spirit of St. Louis

Charles Augustus Lindbergh (February 4, 1902 - August 26, 1974) was a pioneering American aviator.

Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in rural Minnesota. After training as a U.S. military aviator, he worked as a civilian air-mail[?] pilot in the 1920s. Lindbergh gained sudden great international fame as the first pilot to fly solo and non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean, flying from New York to Paris on May 20-May 21, 1927 in his custom built airplane The Spirit of Saint Louis. This accomplishment won him the Orteig Prize[?] of $25,000. His public stature following this flight was such that he became an important voice on behalf of aviation activities until his death. He served on a variety of national and international boards and committees, including the central committee of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics[?] in the United States. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, The Spirit of St. Louis, recounting his non-stop transatlantic flight and on March 21, 1928 he was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor for his first trans-Atlantic flight.

Lindbergh is recognized in avaition 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.

He married Anne Morrow Lindbergh, an author, and did much of the exploring and charting of air-routes together with her. Their two-year-old son, Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr was abducted on March 1, 1932. The boy was found dead on May 12 in Hopewell, New Jersey just a few miles from the Lindbergh's home after a nation-wide ten week search and ransom negotiations with the kidnappers. A media circus ensued when the man accused of the murder went on trial (which was dubbed the "trial of the century"). Tired of being in the spotlight and still mourning the loss of their son, the Lindberghs moved to Europe.

In Europe during the rise of Fascism, Lindbergh assisted American aviation authorities by providing them with information about European technological developments. After 1936 he was especially important in warning the U.S. of the rise of Nazi air power. As war loomed in Europe he was a prominent speaker in favor of an isolationist policy for the USA. On January 23, 1941 Lindbergh testified before the United States Congress and recommended that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler. When his country went to war, however, he assisted with the war effort in the 1940s by serving as a consultant to aviation companies and the government, as well as flying combat missions in the Pacific. After World War II he lived quietly in Connecticut, and then spent his final years in Hawaii.

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