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Spirit of St. Louis
108k GIF - 29k JPEG
Smithsonian Institution
photograph #79-763 by D. Penland

Milestone:
First Nonstop Solo Transatlantic Flight
Date of Milestone:
May 21, 1927
Aircraft:
Ryan NYP "Spirit of St. Louis"
Pilot:
Charles A. Lindbergh
Aircraft Location:
Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum, Milestones of Flight Gallery

On May 21, 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh completed the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight in history, flying his Ryan NYP "Spirit of St. Louis" 5,810 kilometers (3,610 miles) between Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York, and Paris, France, in 33 hours, 30 minutes. With this flight, Lindbergh won the $25,000 prize offered by New York hotel owner Raymond Orteig to the first aviator to fly an aircraft directly across the Atlantic between New York and Paris. When he landed at Le Bourget Field in Paris, Lindbergh became a world hero who would remain in the public eye for decades.

The aftermath of the flight was the "Lindbergh boom" in aviation: aircraft industry stocks rose in value and interest in flying skyrocketed. Lindbergh's subsequent U.S. tour in the "Spirit of St. Louis" demonstrated the potential of the airplane as a safe, reliable mode of transportation. Following the U.S. tour, Lindbergh took the aircraft on a goodwill flight to Central and South America, where flags of the countries he visited were painted on the cowling.

"Spirit of St. Louis" was named in honor of Lindbergh's supporters in St. Louis, Missouri, who paid for the aircraft. "NYP" is an acronym for "New York-Paris," the object of the flight.
Gift of Charles A. Lindbergh.

Design Features:

The "Spirit of St. Louis" was designed by Donald Hall under the direct supervision of Charles Lindbergh. It is a highly modified version of a conventional Ryan M-2 strut-braced monoplane, powered by a reliable Wright J-5C engine. Because the fuel tanks were located ahead of the cockpit for safety in case of an accident, Lindbergh could not see directly ahead, except by using a periscope on the left side or by turning the airplane and looking out a side window. The two tubes beneath the fuselage are flare dispensers that were installed for Lindbergh's flights to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Wingspan: 14 m (46 ft)
Length: 8 m (27 ft 8 in)
Height: 3 m (9 ft 10 in)
Weight, gross: 2,330 kg (5,135 lb)
Weight, empty: 975 kg (2,150 lb)
Engine: Wright Whirlwind J-5C, 223hp
Manufacturer: Ryan Airlines Co., San Diego, Calif., 1927

More Information:
Ryan NYP "Spirit of St. Louis" - Aircraft of The Smithsonian


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