IT’S A BIRD, IT’S A PLANE….IT’S CHARLES LINDBERGH!

Taking off from my last post (where I left the Wright Brothers up in the air and me breezin’ along with the breeze), we come to May 20, a day second to none in aviation annals.*

On this May day in 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from New York for Paris in the Spirit of St. Louis (his monoplane), to begin the second (and most famous) nonstop transatlantic flight in history. Yes, I said second — the first was made by paired English aviators in 1919, from Newfoundland to Ireland (about half the distance of Lindbergh’s solo flight).

On this date in 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland for Paris, but due to weather conditions, she had to ‘pull up’ short in Northern Ireland, nonetheless becoming the first woman to make a solo nonstop transatlantic flight.

We now turn to the musical portion of the program. Faster than you can say “It’s a bird,” Lindbergh’s fame brought songwriters down from the clouds to cash in, hatching a flock of insipid pop songs. Not so with Earhart’s feat, not even a peep of a song….although her lost flight over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 did inspire a few songs that didn’t long survive.

OK. If I had to eat crow in my last post, can I now soar like an eagle with these jazzed-up Lindberg hit tunes soaring over treacly lyrics:

Ladies and gendermen, the Spirit of St. Louis is coming in for a landing — and if we’re Lucky, Lindy will be in the spirit for a rousing finish.

*In addition to the Lindbergh and Earhart flights, May 20 was also the day Congress passed the Air Commerce Act licensing pilots and planes in 1926, and the date of the first regular transatlantic airmail flight (Pan Am, NYC to Marseille, France) in 1939.

 

 

 

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THE DAY THE WRIGHTS DONE ME WRONG

Where were you on the morning of December 17, 1903? If you had been on the beach at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, at 10:30 a.m., this is what you would have seen:

As for yours truly, that’s too long ago to remember exactly where I was on that date, but wherever I was, I was most likely trying to think what I would write about when I learnt to write right….which brings me to my good friends, the Wright Brothers, who owned a bicycle shop right up the pike from me in Dayton, Ohio (about 50 miles as the crow flies).

In those days, a fifty mile trip was no breeze (not even with a breeze, as a crow knows). The Wright Brothers offered to sell me a bicycle cheap, but, though the price was right, I couldn’t find a crow to take me to Dayton, and they wouldn’t deliver it (the bicycle, that is). So I told them to go fly a kiteplain and simple. Next thing I knew, they were off to Kitty Hawk to fly a light plane — almost, if not exactly, what my directive to them directed. So you see, by rights, I’m at least partly responsible for the first heavier-than-air flight in history, though never given credit. After that slight, needless to say, I no longer considered them friends.

There you have it. The Wrights done me wrong, but am I bitter? No way — not this bird. I’m above that kind of pettinest. As you can plainly sees, I’m just….

As they used to say back in the day, “That’s all she wrote.”