If He Had Only Known! Charles Lindbergh was a cautious and methodical person. That's why he lived to become an old man

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If He Had Only Known! Charles Lindbergh was a cautious and methodical person. That's why he lived to become an old man.

When the Ryan people built his "Spirit," he supervised the work carefully. There is a story of a mechanic who dropped a wrench on the engine, knocking off a tiny bit of a cooling fin, which led to discussions about changing the whole engine. When they fitted the long engine oil lines, Lindbergh demanded to have them made out of 18-inch lengths, connected at the joints by a hose, so as not to break from vibrations. So, when on his way over the Atlantic, he felt sure that his plane was as safe as man could build it, but he didn't know what had happened a few weeks earlier.

One late night, a couple of Ryan employees were filling the fuel tanks after a test flight. One of them, fatigued by long hours of work, dropped a short length of rubber hose down the filler neck into the main fuel tank. It was a nightmare! At first, after many vain attempts to reach the hose, they decided to leave it in the tank to disintegrate. But when sheet-metal man Fred Rohr heard about it, he insisted that the hose be removed, as it might eventually clog the gas lines. They drained out the gasoline, then Rohr cut a six-inch hole in the side of the tank, about a foot from the bottom, from which the hose was retrieved. Rohr thought he might weld it up again, but feared an explosion and decided to solder it instead, which he did successfully. There were only three or four people present, so Lindbergh wasn't told about it.

Many years later, author Cassagneres mentioned the incident to Lindbergh, who "was rather surprised, but chuckled about it after." (Ev Cassagneres: The Spirit of Ryan)

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