Tags: Lindbergh's | Grandson | Re-creates | Flight

Lindbergh's Grandson Re-creates Flight

Wednesday, 01 May 2002 12:00 AM

"Erik Lindbergh left at 12:16 p.m., on what should be a 16-hour, 16-minute flight, and he's expected to land at 10:30 a.m. local time at Le Bourget Airport, outside of Paris tomorrow," Peter DiAmandis, chairman of the X PRIZE, told United Press International.

"Erik's flight will take half the time and half the fuel of his grandfather, but Erik will trace his grandfather's Great Circle Route flight plan and will mostly be over water," he said.

Originally scheduled to take off at 10 a.m., the flight was delayed to capture an ideal jet stream air current, expected to shave three hours off the flight, which had been predicted to take up to 21 hours.

"I am making this flight to honor my grandfather's legacy and to promote the X PRIZE competition, which I believe to be the catalyst for the future of space travel," said Lindbergh. "When I'm done with this flight I want to go into space on the X-PRIZE."

By being the first to solo cross the Atlantic Ocean in a race to win the $25,000 Orteig Prize, Charles Lindbergh opened the world of commercial aviation that today is a $250 billion industry.

Erik Lindbergh, 37, a sculptor who lives in Seattle, is making his flight to honor the anniversary of his grandfather's flight and to support of X PRIZE Foundation.

Founded in 1996, X PRIZE Foundation, in St. Louis, is sponsoring an international "Race to Space," paralleling the 1927 aviation race across the Atlantic.

A grand prize of $10 million will be awarded to the first team that builds and flies a three-person vehicle to an altitude of 62 miles twice within a two-week period. Twenty-one teams from the private sector in five countries are pursuing the prize.

"Erik Lindbergh's flight will not be an actual re-creation of his grandfather's flight," Ed James, a spokesman for Lindbergh told UPI. "He'll have a modern plane and a radio and other safety equipment his grandfather didn't have, but it's still a small plane flying over a lot of ocean."

Erik Lindbergh's plane, The New Spirit of St. Louis, is a state-of-the-art Lancair Columbia 300 made of fiberglass and equipped with radio, radar, satellite telephone and Internet access. The plane has a cruising speed of 180 mph.

"He will cruise at an altitude of 11,000 feet, and because three weather systems are a concern he will be guided from us on the ground to avoid icing conditions," DiAmandis said.

His grandfather's plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, was a small single-engine plane constructed of wood, fabric and steel that had no radio and no radar. Charles Lindbergh took 33.5 hours to fly the 3,610 miles from New York to Paris at altitudes of up to 8,000 feet and sometimes as low as 1,000 feet.

He departed from Roosevelt Field on Long Island, but because that is now a shopping mall, his grandson used the nearest Long Island airport, Republic Airport, in Farmingdale.

The elder Lindbergh was greeted by hundreds of thousands of people in Paris when he landed his solo flight.

Erik Lindbergh does not get that kind of attention but said that everywhere he goes he still meets people who tell him how his grandfather's flight grabbed their attention 75 years ago.

The 37-year-old grandson has suffered from the age of 21 with rheumatoid arthritis, a progressive autoimmune disease marked by pain, tenderness and inflammation of the joints.

During his worst years with rheumatoid arthritis, Lindbergh was forced to use a cane because of the severe pain that made it almost impossible for him to walk.

However, with the help of a breakthrough biotech drug, Enbrel, he has begun to pursue his dreams. He's a spokesman for Arthritis Foundation and serves as a trustee and vice president of X PRIZE Foundation. "Erik is an experienced commercial pilot and flight instructor and has spent months undergoing rigorous training and testing to prepare himself for these highly demanding solo flights," said Gregg Maryniak, director for the 2002 New Spirit of St. Louis flight, and executive director of X PRIZE Foundation.

History Channel will follow Lindbergh as he traces his grandfather's footsteps, in a two-hour documentary special scheduled to air May 20, the 75th Anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's takeoff from New York to Paris.

The program, "Lindbergh Flies Again," will include historic footage of Charles Lindbergh and the present day mission of his grandson. Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Erik Lindbergh left at 12:16 p.m., on what should be a 16-hour, 16-minute flight, and he's expected to land at 10:30 a.m. local time at Le Bourget Airport, outside of Paris tomorrow, Peter DiAmandis, chairman of the X PRIZE, told United Press International. Erik's...
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Wednesday, 01 May 2002 12:00 AM
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