Charles Lindbergh: The Lone Eagle

Synopsis: When Charles A. Lindbergh, made the first flight across the Atlantic to Paris, he was soaring into history. The amazing journey made him the most famous man in America, if not the entire world. His solo achievement was prelude to a life of accomplishment, triumph and tragedy witnessed by millions through the lens of his celebrity, which he never sought and endured stoically throughout his lifetime.
Genre: Documentary
Year:
1999
17 Views

In 1927, an unknown air mail pilot

from rural Minnesota

enters a race against

the best aviators in the world.

He will fly from New York to Paris,

alone across the empty sea.

Charles Lindbergh is a dark horse

in a deadly competition.

He risks his life

on the longest flight ever flown

and he lands as

the most famous man on earth.

The story is an American legend:

Lindbergh's dream to prove

aviation's future.

A Lone Eagle, who inspires the world

to look to the skies.

Early in the 20th century,

the airplane is a deadly innovation.

Few people dare to fly, and those

who do often pay with their lives.

The heavens beckon, and then destroy.

The most lethal challenge is

to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.

A feat so hazardous that, in 1919,

a New York millionaire

offers 25,000 dollars

to the first plane to fly non-stop

between New York and Paris.

No one dares. Planes are too slow,

too primitive and the ocean, too wide.

Three years pass.

Then, at a remote airfield

in Nebraska,

a twenty-year old from rural Minnesota

begins his apprenticeship

in the uncertain world of flight.

Charles Lindbergh

has dropped out of college

after just one year

to pursue his dream.

Lindbergh wants to be a pilot.

When a daredevil named Erold Bahl

brings his aerial act to town,

the young Lindbergh sees a way

to finally get off the ground.

Bahl admires

the newcomer's enthusiasm,

and decides to take him

on as a protg.

Lindbergh is self-reliant,

calm, and driven.

He is shy and modest, but determined.

Lindbergh knows aviation is his future.

He is electrified by the perils

and the freedom of flight.

"Trees become bushes; barns, toys;

cows turn into rabbits as we climb.

I lose all conscious connection

with the past.

I live only in the moment

in this strange space,

crowded with beauty,

pierced with danger."

In the air, Lindbergh shows no fear,

perfecting the most perilous

barnstorming stunts.

Wingwalking...

Then skydiving,

with a primitive silk parachute.

He makes hundreds of jumps.

With each leap, he risks his life,

and enriches his spirit.

"Of course there's danger;

but a certain amount of danger

is essential to the quality of life.

I don't believe in

taking foolish chances;

but nothing can be accomplished

without taking any chance at all.

What civilization was not founded

on adventure,

and how long could one

exist without it?

What justifies the risk of life?"

Lindbergh masters the single-engine

bi-planes of the day.

Over the next year,

he hops from town to town,

performing stunts

across the rural mid-West.

Then, Charles Lindbergh decides

to make a serious commitment

to his flying infatuation.

In 1924, he enlists in the US Army

flying school in San Antonio, Texas.

Lindbergh wants to hone his skills

as a pilot,

and the Air Corps owns some of

the fastest planes in the world.

Flying in formation

teaches him precision

and about the dangers of carelessness.

On a routine flight, Lindbergh

collides with another plane.

Both pilots narrowly escape

with their lives.

Lindbergh is back in the air

within the hour.

Nothing can keep him out of the skies.

Of the hundred and four men

who join the Air Corps with Lindbergh,

only nineteen pass.

Lindbergh, once a first-year

college failure,

now graduates at the top of his class.

When his one-year army tour is over,

Lieutenant Lindbergh goes to

one of the capitals

of the burgeoning aviation industry,

Lambert Field, St. Louis, Missouri.

St. Louis has ambitions

to be an aviation hub.

Lindbergh's experience

earns him the best,

but most dangerous job on the field:

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