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.
It had to be NONSTOP.
Well, at least they leave off the “with prejudice” part. ;-)
“Troublesome political alignment”? He was cheerleader for Hitler. He was supposed to make a pro Hitler speech at the Boston Garden on December 8, 1941. But something happened.
The Soviets were unsure of the ability of their craft to survive a landing, so the first couple of cosmonauts were "punched out" at 20K ft on the way back down from space.
Hey the only want to tell you the truth. Predicting an landing would only be a guess.
Sorry Maverick, below the hard deck doesn’t count!
A one-eyed navigator? How about a doctor named “Crusher”?
At any rate, Lindbergh still would be the first transatlantic SOLO flight.
“I guess that would make Lindbergh the first to fly the Atlantic non-stop without dying”.........
........and solo, at that.
There was a story on “Unsolved Mysteries” TV show about some guy who found an old airplane engine in the woods in Maine or somewhere like that. When he went back, he couldn’t find it again. The claim was that this was the engine of the “White Bird”.
“At any rate, Lindbergh still would be the first transatlantic SOLO flight.”
Yeah, I don’t know what most everyone on this thread is on about. Lindbergh’s fame has always rested in my mind—in addition to having his kid stolen—on having been the first man to fly across the Atlantic alone. Do we even know whether this French couple were the first team to make it across? There were probably a dozen others, for all I can trust this article.
This sorry excuse for journalism makes up its own myth to debunk (i.e. that Lindbergh was the first man to fly across the Atlantic), in the hope that you’ll mistake it for an actual fact you know (Lindbergh piloted the first solo transatlantic flight). Coming from the lone wolf alternate theorist who’s no doubt looking to sell a book, I understand it. But foreshame, whatever news outlet this represents. You have sullied the sullied name of the MSM.
Any landing you walk away from is a good one.
Any landing after which the plane is still usable is a GREAT one! ;-P
Lindbergh was an isolationist, not a Nazi sympathiser. Roosevelt smeared him as a Nazi-lover because Roosevelt wanted to get the US into WW2, just as he smeared isolationist reporters and politicians. When the US entered WW2, Lindgergh flew combat missions in the Pacific and shot down several Japanese planes, even though he was in his 40’s. He was given a medal by Hermann Goering in the 30’s, which is often cited as proof of Linbergh’s Nazi sympathies, but it was a Luftwaffe medal in commemoration of his famous flight. Lindbergh never made a “pro Hitler speech” anywhere. Sorry to see you falling for FDR’s RAT propaganda.
They broke the first rule of piloting: Keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs.
Clive Cussler and his crew followed eyewitness accounts and went looking for the wreck in the woods of Maine. He never found anything,but he believes it’s there, most likely now sunk in a swamp.
Guy has enough money to burn a wet elephant. So, he goes and blows it on boating and diving and wreck-hunting (and likely beer-drinking and carousing) with his buddies. What's left over, he spends on antique cars. Whatta Character.
I saw the movie "Sahara" in the theater. It was a real barn-burner. BUT, what I rememeber the most was the credits. They were supposed to be a long panning shot of all sorts of pics and memorabilia from Dirk Pitt (the main character in the story) but they were actually mostly photos of Cusslers treasure hunting buddies. I recognized a few of them from the Sea Hunters book. Why not make a movie, and stick your friends in it?
Given the chance, I'd love to sit down and have a beer with him. I bet he's a character.
Love Clive’s books and he does seem down to earth. The movie was ok but missed/changed too much of the book for me.
So Mr. Nungesser and navigator François Coli might have been the first men to fly nonstop to North America from Continental Europe
a number of fliers made it across in other waysvia Ireland, or by refueling at seabut the nonstop, continent-to-continent challenge was different.
But Newfoundland is not part of the North American continent, it is an island. If for purposes of the contest Ireland does not count as mainland Europe why should Newfoundland count as mainland North America?
So even if this guy is right, Nungesser still wasn't the first to fly continent-to-continent.
>>> Lindbergh was an isolationist, not a Nazi sympathiser. Roosevelt smeared him as a Nazi-lover because Roosevelt wanted to get the US into WW2
Yes he was no traitor. When Goering gave him that medal, Lindy was also given the opportunity to test fly the Me-109, at the time the most advanced fighter in the air. He wrote up his impressions of the aircraft and submitted them to the Army Air Force. Useful intelligence.
“” 21 October, Lindbergh finally had the opportunity to fly a Bf109 at the Luftwaffe Test Centre at Rechlin (E’Stelle Rechlin). Laconically he noted down: ‘We next inspected the Messerschmitt 110, then passed on to the 109 I was to fly.
I got in the cockpit while one of the officers described the instruments and controls. The greatest complication lay in the necessity of adjusting the propeller pitch for take-off, cruising, and diving. Then there were the controls for the flaps, the retracting gear, for flying above 2,000 metres, for locking and unlocking the tail wheel, and for the other usual devices on a modern pursuit plane. After studying the cockpit I got out and put on a parachute, while a mechanic started the engine. Then, after taxying slowly down to the starting point, I took off.
`The plane handled beautifully. I spent a quarter of an hour familiarising myself with the instruments and controls, then spent 15 minutes more doing manoeuvres of various types - rolls, dives, Immelmanns, etc. After half an hour I landed, took off again, circled the field, and landed a second time. Then I taxied back to the line. The 109 takes off and lands as easily as it flies`. “”
However his isolationism had limits.
DNA tests confirm that pioneering American aviator Charles Lindbergh fathered three illegitimate children in Germany, their spokesman has said.
The tests prove that Dyrk and David Hesshaimer and their sister Astrid Bouteuil were the airman’s children, said media consultant Anton Schwenk.
All three sprang from a romance between Mr Lindbergh and Munich hat maker Brigitte Hesshaimer that began in 1957.
With a wife and children in the US, the pilot led a double life for decades.
The Lindbergh family in the US originally regarded the children’s claim with scepticism.
However, tests conducted by the University of Munich in October matched the children’s DNA with a sample from the airman’s grandson, Morgan Lindbergh, who agreed to take part because he thought they looked “hauntingly familiar”.
The children say they do not want to make any claim on Mr Lindbergh’s estate, but simply wanted acknowledgement that he was really their father.
So, who won the prize for being first to make the trip from the top of the Empire State Building to the ground?
I liked his method of strategy development in looking for the "Twin Sisters" cannons.
He tried to replicate the conditions of the legend by getting drunk and hiding something in the woods -- then he went back when sober to determine how far the actual was from the perceived.
He couldn't find the test item either
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Note: this topic is dated 9/06/2011.
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