Great Spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
_ Albert Einstein
That rushing sound, is it the hordes at Le Bourget,
Swarming past the barriers and lights
To scavenge my Spirit, and lift me up
Into the air that only heroes breathe?
Or is it the age-old sigh of stones,
Known to those who pace the shingle
And the swirled black sands that wrap
Impossible islands in a shawl of waves?
_ Gerard Van der Leun
Seventy-nine years ago, Charles Lindbergh pushed the Wright Whirlwind's throttle to the forward stop setting into motion the grossly overloaded aircraft and a future that the young airmail pilot could not imagine in his wildest fantasies. Thirty-three hours later, after a harrowing journey across the North Atlantic, he landed in Paris with fuel remaining in the Spirit's tanks.
The flight was an unbelievable feat of airmanship against impossible odds. I have read every book written about this flight, yet I am still amazed... A small fabric and metal kite against the weather and vastness of the North Atlantic, with no help from modern navigation technology.
Several years ago, my wife and I flew over the North Atlantic in an A-330 to visit Dingle Bay, Ireland... Lindbergh's first landfall. Words cannot adequately describe the feeling of standing in that place. He was only a few miles off course... How did he do that?
It pains me to no end when I read or see reports dragging the memory of this great aviator through the mire of half truths and the innuendos of history, authored by the lapdogs of the PC police. Charles Lindbergh was not perfect; actually, far from it. What he was, though, was a rugged and fearless individual of his time. Prior to his history making flight, he had survived years of flying the mail in open cockpit bi-planes through the worst weather the mid-western skies had to offer. On two occasions, he ran out of fuel in instrument flight conditions which forced him to leap into the abyss, hoping that his parachute would open.
Obviously, it did.