Lindbergh's Transatlantic Flight: New York to Paris Timeline, May 20-21, 1927
7:52am - Charles Lindbergh takes off
from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York. The heavy plane,
loaded with 450 gallons of fuel, clears telephone wires at the
end of the runway by only 20 feet. 8:52am - Altitude: 500 ft. Wind velocity: 0 mph.
Currently over Rhode Island. Except for some turbulence, the
flight over Long Island Sound and Connecticut was uneventful.
Only 3,500 miles to Paris. 9:52am - Boston lies behind the plane;
Cape Cod is to the right. Altitude: 150 ft. Airspeed: 107 mph.
Wind velocity: 0 mph. 10:52am - There's a breeze blowing from the NW at
10mph. Lindbergh begins to feel tired, although only four
hours have passed since leaving New York. He descends and
flies within ten feet of the water to help keep his mind
clear. 11:52am - Four hundred miles from New
York. Altitude: 200 ft. Nova Scotia appears ahead. After
flying over the Gulf of Maine, the Spirit of St. Louis is only
six miles, or 2 degrees, off course. 12:52pm - Wind velocity has increased to 30 mph.
Lindbergh flies over a mountain range. Clouds soon appear and
thicken as the Spirit of St. Louis approaches a storm
front. 2:52pm - Altitude: 600 ft. Air speed: 96
mph. Lindbergh's course takes him away from the edge of the
storm. Wind velocity has dropped to 15 mph. 3:52pm - The eastern edge of Nova Scotia's Cape
Breton Island lies below. In minutes Lindbergh will be over
water again. Although it's only the afternoon of the first
day, Lindbergh struggles to stay awake. 5:52pm - Flying along the southern coast
of Newfoundland. Altitude: 300 ft. Air speed: 92 mph. Wind
velocity: 20 mph. 7:52pm - Stars begin to appear in the sky as night
falls. The sea below is completely obscured by fog. Lindbergh
climbs from an altitude of 800 ft to 7500 ft to stay above the
quickly-rising cloud. 8:52pm - Altitude: 10,000 ft. The cloud
that first appeared as fog is still below. A thunderhead looms
ahead. Lindbergh files into the towering cloud, then turns
back after noticing ice forming on the plane. 10:52pm - Lindbergh's fight to keep his eyelids
open continues. To keep warm, Lindbergh considers closing the
plane's windows, but then decides that he needs the cold,
fresh air to help stay awake. 11:52pm - Altitude: 10,000 ft. Air
speed: 90 mph. Five hundred miles from Newfoundland. The air
has warmed -- there's no ice remaining on the plane. 1:52am - Halfway to Paris. Eighteen hours into the
flight. Instead of feeling as though he should celebrate (as
he had planned), Lindbergh feels only dread: eighteen long
hours to go. 2:52am - Daylight! Because Lindbergh has
travelled through several time zones, dawn comes earlier. The
light revives the pilot for a while, but then drowsiness
returns. He even falls asleep, but only for a moment. 4:52am - Flying in the fog. Lindbergh continually
falls asleep with his eyes open, then awakens seconds,
possibly minutes, later. The pilot also begins to hallucinate.
Finally, after flying for hours in or above the fog, the skies
begin to clear. 7:52am - Twenty-four hours have elapsed
since taking off from New York. Lindbergh does not feel as
tired. 9:52am - Several small fishing boats spotted.
Lindbergh circles and flies by closely, hoping to yell for
directions, but no fishermen appear on the boats' decks. 10:52am - Local time: 3:00pm. Lindbergh
spots land to his left and veers toward it. Refering to his
charts, he identifies the land to be the southern tip of
Ireland. The Spirit of St. Louis is 2.5 hours ahead of
schedule and less than three miles off course. 12:52pm - Wanting to reach the French coast in
daylight, Lindbergh increases air speed to 110 mph. The
English coast appears ahead. The pilot is now wide
awake. 2:52pm - The sun sets as the Spirit of
St. Louis flies over the coastal French town of Cherbourg.
Only two hundred miles to Paris. 5:22pm - The Spirit of St. Louis touches down at
the Le Bourget Aerodrome, Paris, France. Local time: 10:22pm.
Total flight time: 33 hours, 30 minutes, 29.8 seconds. Charles Lindbergh had not
slept in 55
Source: The Spirit of St. Louis, by Charles A. Lindbergh
Lindbergh Foundation, or any other organization or group.
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