A proverbial "tip of the hat" to Charles Lindberg for his role in making the world a smaller place!
Saturday, May 21, 1927
Lindbergh's eastward course brought dawn at what would have been close to 1 a.m. New York time. It was now Saturday, May 21 in Paris. The light of the sun brought some relief to tired eyes, and as the warming air opened holes in the fog, Lindbergh dropped down to 200 feet above the oceans.
Those early morning hours of the flight were filled only with intermittent glimpses of the angry ocean below, before another bank of fog enveloped man and machine. It became among the most difficult and dangers hours of the flight. Again and again Lindbergh found himself falling asleep, eyes open but mind shutting down. By 7:52 a.m. he had been 48 hours without sleep, airborne for twenty-four hours, and with nothing but a deadly ocean beneath him. Time and again he had seen shorelines in the distance "with trees perfectly outlined against the horizon...the mirages were so natural that, had I not been in mid-Atlantic and known that no land existed along my route, I would have taken them to be actual islands."
Fortunately, after that initial 24-hour period, Lindbergh got his second wind, and began watching the horizon in anticipation of a break in the scenery. Two hours later the first fishing boats began to appear on the waters below. Flying over the first, he saw no signs of life and moved on to the next. As he circled it a face appeared at the cabin window. Cutting back on his engine to decrease the noise, Lindbergh flew closer and yelled through the window of his airplane, "Which way is Ireland?" When he was unable to get a response, he straightened out and headed back on course. An hour later he knew where Ireland was...he was directly over Dingle Bay at the southern tip of the island...less than three miles from the route he had mapped weeks earlier while in San Diego. Glancing at his watch he noted that it was 10:52 a.m. in New York (3:00 p.m. local time). He was two-and-a-half hours ahead of schedule.
Charles Lindbergh had safely negotiated the North Atlantic, and that realization revitalized his weary mind and body. With luck, he might reach the coast of France before darkness fell once again. He increased his airspeed to 110 mph and soon was winging his way over England, across the channel, and then Cherbourg, France. In New York it was now nearly three in the afternoon, eight in the evening in Paris, two-hundred miles distant. The only thing traversing Europe faster than the Spirit of St. Louis was the news that the daring American pilot was on his way.
It was nearly 10 p.m. local time when Lindbergh spotted the lights of Paris. He circled the Eiffel Tower at four thousand feet, then looked around for the landing strip at Le Bourget Field. Fifteen minutes later he was flying low over the field, identified easily by a long line of hangars. He also noticed all roads into the airfield were filled with cars. At 10:22 p.m. Paris time, the Spirit of St. Louis taxied to a stop and an adoring crowd of thousands of Parisians was rushing towards the silver airplane in a friendly but frenzied mob. Lindbergh quickly cut the switch to his engine to halt the propeller and prevent it from killing someone.
Back in New York it was 4:22 p.m. Charles Lindbergh, the unknown airmail pilot from St. Louis had done what no man had done before. Alone, in 30 hours and 30 minutes, he had flown from New York to Paris.
The world had suddenly become a much smaller planet, and a true WORLD hero had been born.