Smithsonian offers a close up look at Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis – Lifestyle – providencejournal.com

WASHINGTON? Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, one of the most prized aircraft in the National Air and Space Museum, was lowered to the ground for its first preservative treatment in 22 years.

WASHINGTON? Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, one of the most prized aircraft in the National Air and Space Museum, was lowered to the ground for its first preservative treatment in 22 years.

The single-engine aircraft has been suspended from the ceiling for decades and can be seen from afar. Recently it was carefully lowered to the ground. Now visitors get a close look at the historic airplane and can better imagine what it must have been like to fly.

The spirit of St. Louis is a flying fuel tank? that carried 451 gallons of gas, said curator Robert Van der Linden. Two large fuel tanks take up the nose of the aircraft, leaving Lindbergh no room for a windshield. Instead, he relied on side windows, a periscope, and compass headings and calculations to complete his 33½ hour flight.

For the next eight months, the plane is expected to keep an eye on the museum’s millions of visitors as restorers repair cracks in the fabric skin and look for other damage. The lightweight fabric housing common for aircraft in the 1920s has become dry and brittle with age. It covers wooden wings and a tubular steel fuselage.

?? Even though you can’t touch it, are you a lot closer and it kind of seems a lot more personal ?? said Van der Linden, chairman of the museum’s aviation department.

Lindbergh became a hero of flight in 1927 when he took the first solo transatlantic flight, flying non-stop from New York to Paris. When the 26-year-old pilot landed in Paris, more than 100,000 people were waiting to greet him. Many swarmed off the plane and tore off pieces for souvenirs. The French Air Force helped with quick repairs.

After the famous flight, Lindbergh flew on a celebratory tour of the United States and then on to Central America and South America. Small flag symbols were painted on the nose of the spirit of St. Louis to represent each country he visited. The last flag comes from Cuba and dates from 1928.

Lindbergh presented the aircraft to the Smithsonian that same year, and it was displayed in the Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall as an international symbol of advances in aviation technology.

The plane will finally be lifted back to its high place in the museum? Milestones of the flight? Gallery reinterpreted to deliver more stories about the people, politics, and business behind the achievements of aviation.

?? The plane itself, the Spirit of St. Louis, is a very simple plane? Van der Linden said. “What made it special was the flight, the fact that Lindbergh was conquering the Atlantic alone, and at the time an unknown airmail pilot.”

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