Ours is a scientific age. Science has taken long strides in the field of transport and communications. With the advent of computers life has assumed altogether a different aspect.
The world has literally shrunk in the field of communication. Not to be left behind is the field of aviation and space travel. Today, we go through a news about the space crafts as a matter of routine and it does not excite or surprise us.
However, the pioneers in the field paved the way for such advancement to become a reality. Their courage, ambition and complete sense of adventure made it possible for our age to be where we are. The element of personal risk did not deter them in taking up the tasks they did tp pave the way for future progress.
Lindberg was one such daredevil whose saga of courage had surprised every person of his times. However, it is not as ancient as one would like to think of. It just happened sixty years ago.
Sixty years ago people laughed at the attempts made by inventors to fly in the air with the help of machines, but now airplanes have become common every where in the civilized world. There are regular airmail and passenger services between important cities of the world and rich people can even buy aeroplane for their private use, just as they buy cars. Airplanes for their private use, just as they buy cars. aeroplanes are the faster form of transport, so busy people like to travel by aeroplane rather than by train or steamer. This has become possible through the perseverance and courage of those who made valiant and persistent efforts to master the air.
Among the greatest aviators of the present day is Colonel Lindberg, an American. The story of his amazing flight across the Atlantic Ocean is one of Herism and Adventure and it shows that difficulties and the fear of failure never overcome a bold heart. The greatest individual feat in all history’ is what the famous polar flight commander bjir called Charles Lindberg’s lone flite across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris and we was right.
The distance between the United States of America and Europe is about 5,000 kilometres. There are no landing places in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and it was very difficult for an airman to cover this distance without a single stop.
In 1927, a rich American offered a prize of $ 25,000 for the first non- stop solo flight between New York and Paris. Lindberg was then only twenty- five years of age. He decided to try for the prize though he had never before flown over a long’s distance. His home town St. Louis supported him in this attempt and raised money for him. With this attempt and raised money for him. With this money he bought a new aeroplane which he named ‘spirit of St. Louis’. He started from New York on his lonely journey on the afternoon of Friday, May 20, 1927. all that he took with him was sufficient fuel for the flight, some sandwiches and two bottles of water.
He flew northwards and after a pleasant flight came over New Foundland. At about 9 o’clock that evening he turned towards the open ocean. But conditions were no longer good, for there was a very thick fog, and soon heavy rain began to fall Lindberg had to fly above the clouds and at times he flew as high as 3 kilometres.
But worse was to come. The cold rain soon turned in to snow and sleet. Snow is very dangerous for flying, because it collects on the airplane and makes it heavy. It was very difficult for Lindberg to make progress, but he did not think of going back. Throughout the night, without sleep or rest, he flew on and on.
All morning he flew. The thick fog and the cold rain continued and to add to his troubles, a stormy wind sprang up. For hours he could not see the ocean, but at midday on Saturday he caught sight of an ocean liner far, far below.
He was sitting in a closed cockpit and had to remain at the controls all the time, carefully watching the instruments before him and intent on his course. This required mental concentration and physical alertness but as Lindberg had both, he could continue the flight in spite of the great difficulties.
He flew on and on and at about 5 p.m on Saturday he sighted the coast of Ireland. He had crossed the Atlantic and the people watched the solitary airplane with great interest. At about 8 o’clock that evening he turned to the South and was soon heading towards France.
During the last part of the journey, Lindberg had been flying at a speed of about 250 kilometres an hour and at half past nine on Saturday evening, he saw the lights of the aerodrome at Paris and soon afterwards the Eiffel Tower.
This news of his flight had spread all over Paris and thousands of people had gathered at the aerodrome. At about 10 o’ clock they ‘Spirit of St. Louis’ in the sky and they gave a shout of welcome. When the airplane landed. They all rushed forward to welcome the great hero. Two hundred policemen found it no easy task to control them and it was with great difficulty that Lindberg reached the car which took him away.
There was great jubilation every where in America, for by this flight Lindberg had brought great honour to his country. He had flown over 5,000 kilometers in about thirty- three hours without a single stop and alone, in spite of very bad weather. He was the first man to accomplish such a great feat and by doing so became one of the greatest aviators.
On the conclusion of his flight the editorial in New York ‘sun’ appeared thus,
“ Lindberg Flies Alone, Alone? Is he alone at whose right side rides ‘Courage’ with Skill with in the Cockpit and Faith upon his left? Does solitude surround the brave when ‘ Adventure’ leads the way and ‘ Ambition reads the dials? Is there no company with him for whom the air is left by adring and the darkness is made light by Enterprise. True, the fragile bodies of weaker fellows do not weigh down his plane; true, the fretful minds of weaker men also lacking from his crowed cabin; but ask his airship communion with those rarer spirits that inspire to intrepidity and by their sustaining potency give strength to arm, resource to mind, content to soul. Alone? With what other companions would that man fly to whom the choice is given?
The editorial clearly states that road to adventure is lonely, but one has to have courage, faith, ambition and confidence for company. The spirit of victory keeps the person going in chasing the ‘ impossible’. They say fortune favors the brave’. Truly so, one should go ahead with great courage.