Charles Augustus Lindbergh (February 4, 1902 – August 26, 1974), nicknamed Lucky Lindy, The Lone Eagle, and Slim, was an American aviator, military officer, author, inventor, explorer, and environmental activist. At age 25 in 1927, he went from obscurity as a U.S. Air Mail pilot to instantaneous world fame by winning the Orteig Prize: making a nonstop flight from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York, to Paris, France. Lindbergh covered the 33 1⁄2-hour, 3,600 statute miles (5,800 km) alone in a single-engine purpose-built Ryan monoplane, Spirit of St. Louis. This was not the first flight between North America and Europe, but he did achieve the first solo transatlantic flight and the first non-stop flight between North America and the European mainland. Lindbergh was an officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve, and he received the United States' highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for the feat.His achievement spurred interest in both commercial aviation and air mail, and Lindbergh himself devoted much time and effort to promoting such activity. Lindbergh's historic flight and celebrity status led to tragedy. In March 1932, his infant son, Charles Jr., was kidnapped and murdered in what American media called the "Crime of the Century" and described by H. L. Mencken as "the biggest story since the Resurrection". The case prompted the United States Congress to establish kidnapping as a federal crime once the kidnapper had crossed state lines with their victim. By late 1935 the hysteria surrounding the case had driven the Lindbergh family into voluntary exile in Europe, from which they returned in 1939.
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If one took no chances, one would not fly at all. Safety lies in the judgment of the chances one takes. That judgment, in turn, must rest upon one’s outlook on life. Any coward can sit in his home and criticize a pilot for flying into a mountain in fog. But I would rather, by far, die on a mountainside than in bed.