Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Spring 2003 Newsletter

Et Ceterata


Lindbergh's compass. 1927. Photo by Eric Beggs.

Carrying five sandwiches, a water canteen and charts, Charles Augustus Lindbergh (1902-1974), boarded his Ryan NYP "Spirit of St. Louis" airplane on the morning of May 20, 1927, and took off from Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York. Destination: Paris, France. He headed out over the Atlantic, using only a magnetic compass, his airspeed indicator and luck. Fighting fog, icing and sleep deprivation, Lindbergh landed safely at Le Bourget Field in Paris less than 34 hours after his departure from New York. He became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Today, the "Spirit of St. Louis" is on permanent display at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The magnetic compass, made by the Pioneer Instrument Company, used by Lindbegh on this historic flight, is part of the William B. Leeds Collection at the Ransom Center.  

—Darnelle Vanghel, Personal Effects Collection

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