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UPI Archives
Saturday, May 21, 1927

Lindbergh wins prize, first solo flight across Atlantic

LE BOURGET FIELD, France, May 21, 1927 (UP) - Captain Charles Lindbergh, the flying mail man, arrived today by air from New York. He was the first man ever to fly from New York to Paris and as the wheels of Lindbergh's monoplane touched the ground the dream of airmen that the North American and European continents should be linked in nonstop airplane flight was realized.

A crowd of thirty thousand persons stormed the field as the exhausted monoplane and its gallant pilot rolled slower and slower and finally came to a stop on the far side of the field.

A surging mass of humanity surrounded the craft.

Since 7:51 Eastern daylight saving time yesterday, Lindbergh had been flying the great circle route alone in the cabin of his machine, with sandwiches and hot chocolate and two bottles of water to sustain his strength.

And there was the promise of fame and fortune to urge him onward. As the monoplane taxied to a stop, Paris welcomed the hero of the greatest sporting event of the year.

What Lindbergh accomplished today had already cost the lives of four men and perhaps of six. Noel Davis and Stanton H. Wooster were killed when the former's New York to Paris entry crashed several weeks ago. Charles N. Clavier and Jacob Islaroff were burned to death last year at Roosevelt Field when Captain Rene Fonck's Sikorsky plane nosed over in taking off for Paris.

Captain Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli are listed as missing.

"I'll be in Paris tomorrow," said Lindbergh when he climbed aboard his monoplane at Roosevelt Field yesterday morning.

He was.

Incidentally, Lindbergh won the $25,000 prize offered by Raymond Orteig, New York hotel man, for the first to fly between the two cities.

Lindbergh was unable to move from his seat and fell to the floor of his plane a moment after the craft stopped.

With the nervy young flyer lying where he had fallen the joyous and wildly excited crowd shoved the monoplane toward the lights on the other side of the field.

Troops assigned to guard the field and keep it clear of people made every effort to send the crowd back behind the smashed barrier. It was feared that another plane might land and crash into the thousands of people.

The scene at Le Bourget was almost indescribable. The wild enthusiasm of the crowd was commensurate with the wild daring of the flyer. Barriers erected to restrain the crowd simply disappeared when thousands of persons behind them suddenly and simultaneously decided that now was the time.

Lindbergh rapidly recovered from the faintness that had caused him to collapse on the floor of the plane just after landing.

"So this is Paris," said Lindbergh.

"I did it."

He said he was recovering his strength.

Pushing the plane being too slow for the crowd, men nearest the St. Louis edged their shoulders under the fuselage, those further out shoved and in a moment the flyer and his plane, his water bottles and all, were being carried on the shoulders of the happy crowd across the field.

The first news that Lindbergh had reached the outposts of Europe was flashed this morning when the radio station at Valentia, Ireland, reported a plane believed to have been Lindbergh's passing that point at a great altitude and flying very fast. Other reports had him flying over the English Channel but these never were confirmed.

At 3:30 o'clock, daylight saving time (American time), Captain Lindbergh was reported to have crossed into France. That report was wirelessed to New York by the French Cable Company.

French and American flags fluttering from every flag pole at Le Bourget Field beckoned Lindbergh to Paris. Red and green signal lights surrounded the field and were lighted shortly after 6 p.m. French time, one p.m. eastern daylight saving time.

Crowds gathered in downtown Paris when the news was flashed. Final editions of the evening papers were snapped up as fast as they appeared.