On the 21st May 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first person to make a solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic when he flew 3,600 miles from New York to Paris.  On exactly the same date five years later, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic when she landed in Northern Ireland, having been forced to abandon her intended destination of Paris due to technical difficulties.

Lindbergh’s flight in The Spirit of St Louis earned him not only enormous fame but also the $25,000 Orteig Prize that had been offered by a French-born New York hotelier to the first person to make a non-stop flight between New York and Paris.

Earhart, meanwhile, did not fly in the hope of receiving prize money.  She later said that she aimed to prove that women were just as good as men in “jobs requiring intelligence, coordination, speed, coolness, and willpower.”  Interestingly, she already held the record as the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, but she did that as a passenger in 1928.

It’s worth noting that the very first non-stop transatlantic flight occurred in 1919.  Two British aviators, John Alcock and Arthur Whiten Brown, flew a modified Vickers Vimy bomber aircraft from Newfoundland to Ireland in just under 16 hours.  Their achievement won them the £10,000 Daily Mail aviation prize for the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic.  They received their prize from the then Secretary of State for Air, and future World War 2 Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.

SOURCES:

http://www.charleslindbergh.com/history/

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/lindbergh/index.html

http://www.ameliaearhart.com/

http://www.ameliaearhartmuseum.org/AmeliaEarhart/AEBiography.htm

http://www.aviation-history.com/airmen/alcock.htm

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