Last of Their Kind

Airplanes without equal at the National Air and Space Museum

(Library of Congress)

Ryan NYP Spirit Of St. Louis

(Dana A. Penland)

Former Army Air and airmail pilot Charles Lindbergh was the first to fly solo across the Atlantic, taking off in the Spirit of St. Louis from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York, at 7:52 a.m. on May 20, 1927, and landing in Paris 33.5 hours later. While the Spirit was homing in on Le Bourget Field, Paul Garber—himself a one-of-a-kind—wrote a telegram for Smithsonian assistant secretary Charles Abbot, inviting Lindbergh to donate the Spirit to the national collection. Lindbergh sold the aircraft to the Institution for $1; on April 30, 1928, it made a final flight, to Washington, D.C. First flight: April 28, 1927; one-of-a-kind modified Ryan M-2.


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