When it came to flying, Charles Lindbergh wrote, "It is the greatest
shot of adrenaline to be doing what you've wanted to do so badly.
You almost feel like you could fly without the plane." Truly,
Charles Lindbergh had found his calling. He took every opportunity
to spend time in the air-flying with the Army Air Corps, barnstorming
with Vera Mae's Flying Circus, and working as an airmail pilot. It
was during one of these flights, soaring above cornfields and farmhouses,
that he made a decision that would forever change his life. The 25-year
old Minnesota native was determined to win the coveted $25,000 Orteig
Prize, offered to the first aviator(s) to fly nonstop between New
York and Paris. Nine St. Louisans joined him in this conviction and
funded the building of the Spirit of St. Louis.
On the morning of May 20, 1927, outfitted in his wool-lined flight
suit, Lindbergh climbed into the Spirit of St. Louis at rain-dampened
Roosevelt field in New York. Nearly crashing during take-off, clearing
trees and telephone lines by a mere 20 feet, Lindbergh embarked upon
the thirty-three and a half hour trip. By the time he landed he had
become an international sensation.