Skip to comments.Charles Lindbergh Won the Prize, but Did His Rival Get There First?
Posted on 09/06/2011 10:27:39 AM PDT by Palter
A Countryman Tries to Unravel the Unsolved Mystery of Charles Nungesser's Last Flight
PARISRight after his historic, 33-hour trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Paris in 1927, Charles Lindbergh asked whether there was news of French aviator Charles Nungesser.
Mr. Nungesser, an adventurer and World War I ace, was Mr. Lindbergh's great rival in the race to fly nonstop across the Atlantic in one direction or the other. He had set off with a navigator from Paris for New York just two weeks before Mr. Lindbergh's flight. But his biplanecalled L'Oiseau Blanc, or White Birdnever arrived in New York, and for decades it was assumed that it had crashed in an Atlantic storm.
Eighty-four years later, Bernard Decré, a French aviation enthusiast, is on his own questto rewrite history. He has come to a different conclusion: The Oiseau Blanc probably flew over Newfoundland, before crash-landing off the coast of Canada.
Last year, Mr. Decré discovered a 1927 U.S. Coast Guard telegram that reported sighting parts of the plane three months after the flight.
"My heart started pounding," Mr. Decré, 71, remembers.
So Mr. Nungesser and navigator François Coli might have been the first men to fly nonstop to North America from Continental Europe. Messrs. Nungesser and Coli would then have held the world flight distance record, if only for 12 days and under tragic circumstances.
The race was triggered when New York hotelier Raymond Orteig in 1919 offered a $25,000 prize for the first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight between New York and Paris. In the ensuing years, a number of fliers made it across in other waysvia Ireland, or by refueling at seabut the nonstop, continent-to-continent challenge was different. "There was an incredible competition to drive the birth of commercial aviation," says Eric Lindbergh, the aviator's grandson.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Landing vs. “being on the ground” doesn’t enter into the terms of success?
I guess that would make Lindbergh the first to fly the Atlantic non-stop without dying.
So if the Russians had sent a manned rocket to crash on the Moon........
New York to Paris, not North America to Europe as that had already been done I believe by an Army team.
It is my understanding that Landing is the hardest, and most important part of flying. It should have been a clue to the people who were asked to train the 9/11 pilots, when they gave no interest in learning how to land.
Nungesser was a really fascinating individual. But he’s never going to get credit for beating Lindbergh. He failed the task.
It only counts if you land. And “landing” means you survive the flight.
Of course he landed in a marsh, with all the other frogs.
“So Mr. Nungesser and navigator François Coli...”
Francois Coli or also known as F. Coli. I wonder if he had a brother named E. Coli? LOL!
A great landing is one in which you can use the airplane again!
You got it!
This Frenchman would say the U.S. was the SECOND country to land men on the moon.
The lawyers must be involved in massaging the implied promise over the years.
Didn’t make it to NYC? Fail.
I, for one, have never liked the “Terminating in (wherever)” announcement.
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