The Joy of Museums

Finding Meaning in Art & History

The Spirit of St. Louis

Spirit Of St Louis2

The Spirit of St. Louis is the specially built, single engine, single-seat airplane that was flown by Charles Lindbergh in 1927, in a record breaking first ever first nonstop flight from New York to Paris.

The Spirit of St. Louis flew a distance of approximately 3,600 miles (5,800 km) in just over 33 hours to win the $25,000 Orteig Prize for the first non-stop flight between New York and Paris.

Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of Saint Louis (Crisco restoration, with wings)

Lindbergh’s flight made him an instant celebrity and media star who ignited the public’s imagination. He wrote: “I was astonished at the effect my successful landing in France had on the nations of the world. It was like a match lighting a bonfire.” On his return to the US, Lindbergh and the “Spirit” were escorted up the Potomac River to Washington, D.C., by a fleet of warships and flights of military aircraft. President Coolidge presented the 25-year-old U.S. Army Reserve aviator with the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The US Postal Service commemorated the world event by releasing a 10c US Airmail stamp honouring Lindbergh and the “Spirit of St Louis” in 1927

Lindbergh Airmail Stamp c10

The “Spirit of St. Louis” is now on permanent display in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

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Essential Facts:

  • Title:                 The Spirit of St. Louis
  • Role:                 Long-range aircraft for record attempt
  • Produced:        1927
  • Owner:             Charles Lindbergh
  • Museum:         National Air and Space Museum

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“The Spirit of St. Louis is a wonderful plane. It’s like a living creature, gliding along smoothly, happily, as though a successful flight means as much to it as to me, as though we shared our experiences together, each feeling beauty, life, and death as keenly, each dependent on the other’s loyalty. We have made this flight across the ocean, not I or it.”
– Charles Lindbergh

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Photo Credit: 1) By Ad Meskens, zie ook:vliegtuigen [Copyrighted free use, CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons 2) See page for author [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 3) See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons