end of header

History

You are here: Census.govHistoryHome Page Archive2017 › May 2017
Skip top of page navigation

2017

May 2017


Visit https://www.census.gov/history every month for the latest Census History Home Page!




U.S. Census Bureau History: Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh

On May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh and his airplane "Spirit of St Louis"
completed the first solo transatlantic flight between New York and France.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

May 20–21, 2017, marks the 90th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's historic transatlantic flight during which the aviator became the first person to fly solo between New York and France. Although Lindbergh's flight was not the first transatlantic flight (an honor held by British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown, who flew from Newfoundland to Ireland June 14–15, 1919), it was the first flight along the 3,600 mile New York to Paris route.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born in Detroit, MI, in 1902, to U.S. Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh (R–MN) and Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh. Charles spent most of his time in Little Falls, MN, Washington, D.C., and (following his parents' separation) Redondo Beach, CA. He attended the University of Wisconsin's College of Engineering in Madison, WI, but dropped out in March 1922, to begin flight training in Lincoln, NE, in March 1922.

Lindbergh completed his first flight on April 9, 1922. A few months later, he was "barnstorming" across the midwestern United States and thrilling crowds as a daredevil wing walker and parachutist. He began military flight training with the United States Army Air Service in San Antonio, TX, on March 19, 1924, and earned a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Service Reserve Corps in March 1925. In 1926, Lindbergh began flying airmail service between St. Louis, MO, and Chicago, IL.

In February 1927, Lindbergh left the airmail service to supervise construction of the airplane he would use to compete for the Orteig Prize—the "Spirit of St. Louis." Sponsored by New York City hotelier Raymond Orteig, the competition offered a $25,000 prize to the first person to fly nonstop from New York to Paris, France. Two months later, the Spirit of St. Louis made it maiden flight in California. After testing, Lindbergh flew to Roosevelt Field on New York's Long Island in mid-May 1927.

On the morning of May 20, 1927, and loaded with 450 gallons of fuel, Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field for Paris, France. Flying just a few feet above the Atlantic Ocean's surface at times, the daring pilot landed at Le Bourget Airport at 10:22pm on May 21 before an estimated 150,000 spectators .

Lindbergh became an international star, fêted with parades, banquets, honorary medals, postage stamps, and book deals. Following the 1932 kidnapping and murder of his 20-month-old son, Charles Lindbergh, Jr., and the unrelenting media attention that followed, Lindbergh and his family attempted to retreat from the public eye in Europe. His fame prevented him from taking an active military role during World War II, so he worked as a consultant and technical advisor to the U.S. government and industry for aircraft manufacturing and performance. After the war, he lived in Darien, CT, and spent his final years in Hawaii. He died on the island of Maui on August 26, 1974.

Learn more about Charles Lindbergh and aviation using data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and other federal agencies. For example:

  • Charles Lindbergh was born in Detroit, MI, in February 1902. His father, Charles August Lindbergh, was a U.S. Congressman, so the family divided their time between Little Falls, MN, Washington, D.C., and following his parents' separation, Redondo Beach, CA. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI, but dropped out during his sophomore year to begin flight training in Lincoln, NE, in March 1922.
  • Beginning in June 1922, Charles Lindbergh "barnstormed" throughout the midwestern United States performing shows as a wing walker and parachutist, and worked as an airplane mechanic in Billings, MT. He received military flight training in San Antonio, TX, in 1924, and received a commission as 2nd Lieutenant United States Army Air Service Reserve Corps in 1925. In October 1925, the Robertson Aircraft Corporation of Anglum, MO, hired Lindbergh to plan and fly an air mail route between St. Louis, MO, and Chicago, IL. The Robertson Aircraft Corporation would provide some of the funding Lindbergh needed to build the Spirit of St. Louis during the spring of 1927.
  • According to France's National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, the 1926 census found that the French population was 40,743,897. As of January 1, 2017, France's population was 66,990,826. Of that population, 18,632 were 10 years or older when Charles Lindbergh landed in Paris after successfully flying across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The Spirit of St. Louis carried a single passenger (Charles Lindbergh) on its nonstop international flight between New York and Paris, France. By 2015, data collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics showed that 1,472,283 international flights carried 200,585,394 passengers to destinations throughout the world.
  • Charles Lindbergh donated the Spirit of St. Louis to the Smithsonian Institute in 1928. Initially displayed at the Arts and Industries Building, the museum relocated the airplane to the new Air and Space Museum in 1976. Today, the Spirit of St. Louis is one of the centerpieces of the Smithsonian's "Boeing Milestones of Flight" gallery. It is featured alongside other historic aircraft including the sound-barrier-breaking Bell X-1 rocket plane flown by Chuck Yeager, the Friendship 7 Mercury space capsule in which John Glenn orbited the Earth in February 1962, and the Gemini IV capsule that carried astronauts James McDivitt and America's first space walker, Edward White.
  • Data from the 2012 Economic Census found that the United States was home to 4,979 Air Transportation establishments (NAICS 481). The Air Transportation sector employed 444,575 in 2012 and had total revenue of more than $181 billion. California (559), Florida (513) and Texas (462) led the nation with the most air transportation establishments.
  • Following his trans-atlantic flight, Charles Lindbergh traveled the world promoting his books and aviation, but his fame had negative consequences for his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh and family. On March 1, 1932, the couple's son Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., disappeared from the family home in East Amwell, NJ. New York police arrested Bruno Richard Hauptmann for the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh's son on September 18, 1934. He was convicted of capital murder on February 13 and executed at the New Jersey state prison in Trenton, NJ, on April 3, 1936.

  • Spirit of St. Louis

    Charles Lindbergh donated the Spirit of St. Louis to the Smithsonian Institute in 1928. Initially displayed at the Arts and Industries Building, the museum relocated
    it to the new Air and Space Museum in 1976. Today, the Spirit of St. Louis is one of the centerpieces of the Smithsonian's "Boeing Milestones of Flight" gallery.

    Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute.




    Skyhaven Airport
    View larger image



    Skyhaven Airport


    Skyhaven Airport operated on the site of the Suitland Federal Complex, in Suitland, MD, from 1938 to 1941.

    At one point, the U.S. Congress considered the airfield as the site for a new National Capital airport until President Franklin Roosevelt chose land along the Potomac River as the home for today's Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

    Construction of government office buildings in Suitland began in late 1941, and the Census Bureau moved into Federal Office Building #3 in Spring 1942.













    Airplane taking off
    View larger image






    Aviation


    When Charles Lindbergh made his historic flight between Long Island, NY, and Paris, France on May 20–21, 1927, there were 1,036 airfields in the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii), 2,740 civil aircraft, and 1,572 certified pilots.

    By 2009, the nation was home to 19,750 airports; 594,285 licensed pilots, and 481,957 private, commercial, and transport airplanes.

    Photo courtesy of the Federal Aviation Administration.














    This Month in Census History


    With the help of California's booming population, the Census Bureau's population clock reached 165 million on May 28, 1955.

    Between 1950 and 1970, the state's population grew from 10,586,223 to 19,971,069.

    In 2010, California was home to 3 of the nation's 10 largest cities—Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose.




    Visit https://www.census.gov/history every month for the latest Census History Home Page!

[PDF] or PDF denotes a file in Adobe’s Portable Document Format. To view the file, you will need the Adobe® Reader® Off Site available free from Adobe. This symbol Off Site indicates a link to a non-government web site. Our linking to these sites does not constitute an endorsement of any products, services or the information found on them. Once you link to another site you are subject to the policies of the new site.
X
  Is this page helpful?
Thumbs Up Image Yes    Thumbs Down Image No
X
No, thanks
255 characters remaining
X
Thank you for your feedback.
Comments or suggestions?
Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: October 21, 2019