Charles Lindbergh was a pioneer in civil aviation. In his twenties, he travelled America from coast to coast, establishing airmail routes and surveying suitable routes for commercial and passenger air travel. He attracted huge crowds as a stunt pilot at air shows. In May 1927 he flew his plane, The custom-built Spirit of St. Louis, from New York, to Paris winning the Orleig Prize of $25,000 for being the first to fly this route nonstop solo. As a result he achieved international star status. A crowd estimated to be over 100,000 greeted his arrival in Paris. A skeptical American public gained a new confidence in air travel. In 1929 more than 170,000 paying passengers used air travel, compared to 60,000 the previous year.
Lindbergh became a Global Ambassador for civil aviation. In 1931, accompanied by his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, He flew to the Orient exploring the potential for commercial air travel. In 1933 the Lindberghs, on behalf of Pan-Am and a consortium of American and European Airlines, surveyed potential transatlantic routes and stopover hubs between North America and Europe. They visited Galway as part of this survey. Consequently, Foynes, in the Shannon estuary, was chosen as the Trans Atlantic stopover to Europe. Charles Lindbergh wrote the best seller and pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Spirit of St. Louis.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh got married in 1929. He gave Anne flying lessons and three months later she made her first solo flight. She went on to be the first woman, and the tenth American, to earn a first class glider pilots licence in addition to her private pilot’s licence. Throughout her life she was overshadowed by the film star status of her husband. During their flying careers the Lindberghs flew around the world. Anne was the co-pilot, navigator, and radio operator on every trip. In 1930, the Lindberghs flew from Los Angeles to New York breaking the transcontinental speed record. In 1931, The couple flew to the Orient, proving the possibility of travelling from West to East by way of the northern (Arctic) route. This journey inspired Anne to write her first book, North to the Orient. In July,1933, they crossed the North Atlantic by way of Greenland, mapping potential transatlantic routes and stopover bases for regular commercial flights between North America and Europe. During a stopover in Greenland their plane was given its name Tingmissartoq by a young Eskimo boy who described it in his native tongue as “one who flies like a bird.” It was also during this journey that, in October 1933, the Lindberghs visited Galway and were met by “several local dignitaries.” This journey took more than five months, ending in December 1933. They had flown more than 30,000 miles to twenty-one countries, over four continents. Foynes, in the Shannon estuary, in preference to Galway, was chosen as the Trans Atlantic stopover to Europe. In 1938, Anne published her account of this trip called Listen! The Wind!. It was one of many books and essays published by her. She received numerous honorary doctorates and awards in recognition of her achievements, both as a bestselling author and aviator. They including the National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Gold Medal in 1934. The Cross of Honour of the U.S. Flag Association. She became a finalist for the National Book Awards for her bestselling Gift from the sea. She was inducted into The National Aviation Hall of Fame and The National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Note: During their trip to Galway the Lindberghs took a boat trip on the Corrib. There is no evidence that the local dignitaries drew their attention to the suitability of the river Corrib at Wood Quay as a potential location for a Trans Atlantic hub. The Corrib was the safest, and most convenient location on the west coast of Ireland for a year round service across the Atlantic.