The Lindbergh Foundation Believes that Innovative Science and Technology Hold the Key to Addressing Humanity’s Environmental and Productivity Challenges


Grant recipient updates, fascinating facts, and general news and information from the Lindbergh Foundation

LGR Jason Edens Featured in Midwest Energy News

Posted by: Kelley Welf

Tagged in: solar , RREAL , Midwest Energy News , LGR , Jason , energy , Edens

Kelley Welf

Jason Edens received a Lindbergh Grant in 2007 to determine whether it would be economically possible to use solar heat as a long-term solution for public energy assistance in the Midwest.  The short answer is, "Yes!"

Five years since he received our grant, Jason's work is continuing and expanding.  His solar energy panels have helped hundreds of families.  He hopes to eventually bring the technology to such far-away places as Tajikistan, Mongolia and rural Russia.

Excerpt from "Midwest Energy News" Article

Solar diagramTwelve years ago, set out to transform heating and cooling assistance for low-income families into a clean, energy-independent solution. Since then, his organization, the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL), has helped hundreds of families install low-cost solar furnaces to help reduce their energy bills.

“Tens of millions of Americans have to make challenging choices between eating and heating every winter,” asserts Edens, director and founder of RREAL, a 12-year-old Minnesota-based nonprofit social enterprise that leverages solar technologies to keep struggling families warm in the winter. Over 15 percent of the U.S. population lives at or below the poverty line.

Read the full article here.

Below is an excerpt from a blog post by John and Martha King.

Forrest Bird is an avid pilot.  He soloed at 14.  He ferried aircraft across the North Atlantic during WWII.  He flew his own Howard Ventura regularly back and forth to Europe. And when the Learjet became available, flew his own Lear to Europe regularly.  Today he has many thousands of hours, a few dozen aircraft, his own airport, and an impressive aviation museum.

Dr. Bird was named a Living Legend of Aviation by the Kiddie Hawk Foundation, and Martha and I were deeply honored when he presented the same award to us this January.

Please join us during Sun ‘n’ Fun at the Lindbergh Foundation award ceremony as Martha and I will be able to return the honor by presenting the Lindbergh certificate and medal to the remarkable Dr. Forrest Bird.

Read more about Dr. Bird in John and Martha King's blog.

It was 84 years ago today, that Charles Lindbergh took his first flight in the Spirit of St. LouisLindbergh with Ryan Reps.  "This morning I'm going to test the Spirit of St. Louis," Lindbergh wrote in his book The Spirit of St. Louis.  "It's the 28th day of April ... What a beautiful machine it is, resting there on the field in front of the hangar, trim and slender, gleaming in its silver coat!  All our ideas, all our calculations, all our hopes lie there before me, waiting to undergo the acid test of flight.  For me, it seems to contain the whole future of aviation.  When such planes can be built, there's no limitation to the air."

The Spirit was built by 35 employees of Ryan Airlines, Inc., in San Diego, California.  It took just 60 days.

This was a question on the minds of Mrs. Stamper’s 8th grade class from Hanover, Mass.  The class had read a non-fiction excerpt called "Flying" by Reeve Lindbergh.  As a follow-up, Mrs. Stamper showed the film "Spirit of St. Louis" with Jimmy Stewart.  The students wanted to know:

Charles Lindbergh in Helmet“...if Charles Lindbergh did wear cotton balls in his ears for his true solo flight. "  Mrs. Stamper explained that the students "noticed it immediately and questioned it because in the excerpt by Reeve she notes that her father discouraged the use of cotton balls as it took away from the "true" experience.”


Initially, I was inclined to agree with the 8th graders, but upon referring to the biography, “Lindbergh” written by A. Scott Berg (pg. 115 paperback), he states, “At 7:51 a.m., Lindbergh buckled his safety belt, stuffed each ear with a wad of cotton, strapped on his wool-lined helmet, and pulled his goggles down over his eyes.”  However, Lindbergh does not mention the cotton in his book “The Spirit of St. Louis” (pg. 175 paperback).  He writes: “I buckle my safety belt, pull goggles down over my eyes, turn to the men at the blocks, and nod.”


So, I asked Lindbergh’s youngest daughter, Reeve, (who is the honorary chairman of the Lindbergh Foundation, by the way) what she thought about this question.  Here’s what she said:


I think Scott Berg is probably right, because he researched the book (his biography of my father)  meticulously for eight years before he wrote it. If he says that my father put cotton balls in his ears for the *Spirit* flight, I strongly suspect that he (Scott) found a reliable source for that information.

Gee, I wish I'd known this when I was flying with my father! He *definitely* did not like us to use cotton balls when we were flying with him. (Probably because we couldn't hear his instructions from the front cockpit). But I also know that the *Spirit* was much, much noisier than any airplane I ever flew in with him when I was a child, because I've flown in the *Spirit* replica. Yikes!
Maybe my father felt that modern (1950's era) small planes were so much less noisy than the ones he flew in the early days that cotton balls were unnecessary, even though he had used them himself in the pioneering aviation era.
That's my best guess.



The answer to last week’s trivia question is:  8 hours.

Over the course of two months, Lindbergh obtained about 8 hours of flying instruction in the "Tourabout" with I.O. Biffle (Biff) who was his only instructor.  There was no ground school connected to the flying course he obtained at Nebraska Aircraft Corporation.  Instead, he worked around the factory to learn the ins and outs of airplanes.

Most of Lindbergh’s instructional flying was done in the early morning or late evening due to the strong mid-day winds in Nebraska.  Although Biff declared Lindbergh ready to solo after 8 hours of flight time, Lindbergh could not pay the bond, which the company required, in case he wrecked the plane, which was to be sold.  Lindbergh spent the next few months Barnstorming, then returned to Lincoln where he obtained two more hours of instruction in another plane.  But, he had not soloed before he purchased his “Jenny,” a fact that no one on the field in Americus, Georgia, knew.  He also had not been in a plane for six months before his first attempt. 

“The first solo flight is one of the events in a pilot’s life which forever remains impressed upon his memory.  It is the culmination of difficult hours of instruction, hard weeks of training and often years of anticipation.  To be absolutely alone for the first time in the cockpit of a plane, hundreds of feet above the ground is an experience never to be forgotten.“ Lindbergh wrote in his book, We.


What are your memories or experiences from your first solo flight?


Thanks to those of you who ventured a guess in last week’s trivia question, “Does anyone know what plane Lindbergh learned to fly on?”

The answer is:  the Lincoln Standard “Tourabout.”

Many of you answered the “Curtiss Jenny.”  This was the first airplane Lindbergh owned, and he made his first solo flight in this plane, but he did not learn to fly in this aircraft.

Charles Lindbergh and Harlan GurneyOn April, 1, 1922, Lindbergh arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he enrolled as  flying student with the Nebraska Aircraft Corporation.  There, Lindbergh received not only his first flight as a passenger in an airplane, but also his first instruction in flying in the company’s training plane — a Lincoln Standard, “Tourabout” bi-plane. Otto Timm was the pilot of Lindbergh’s first flight on April 9, 1922.  Harlan “Bud” Gurney, also receiving his first flight that day, joined Lindbergh on the flight.  A few days later, under the instruction of Ira O. Biffle, Lindbergh received his first instruction in the same plane.

At right:  Lindbergh poses with friend Harlan "Bud" Gurney.

Let's make this the trivia question for this week: 

Can anyone guess how many hours of flight time Lindbergh had in the “Tourabout” before going solo?

Comment here, on Twitter or Facebook.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Attention Pilots!

The Lindbergh Foundation is sponsoring a special event during the AOPA Summit 2010 in Long Beach, Calif., at the Hyatt Regency, adjacent to the convention center, in the Regency Ballroom, Salon B at 10 a.m. on Nov. 12.

The forum, dubbed,  “Aviation, the Environment and the Future,” will provide attendees a quick, interesting taste of the leading edge of the future of general aviation.  

 Lindbergh Foundation Chairman Larry Williams, President and CEO of BRS Aerospace said, "This hour–long session will highlight big changes that are in the pipeline at the intersection of aviation and the environment.  This intersection is at the very core of the Lindbergh Foundation’s desire to encourage solutions, acknowledge progress and communicate ideas that affect general aviation.” 

The event is open to all attendees and includes six, 10-minute-long presentations that will give those who attend a rapid but substantive look at the advances in:


  • Alternative bio-fuel for use in GA aircraft,
  • Cessna’s electric airplane program,
  • Fuel cell and drag reduction initiatives,
  • New diesel engine options,
  • The company-wide environmental program at Cessna, and
  • Some stage-setting general future trends that will shape the coming environment.


“The relationship between technology and our environment is one of the most important issues facing aviation, and in fact, all humankind,” said John King, co-chairman of King Schools and director on the Lindbergh Foundation’s Board.  “For our own good and the good of society, we in the aviation industry must exercise leadership and steer the dialog and action toward a more productive approach.”

The Lindbergh Foundation’s Aviation Green Investment Program is a forward-looking, multifaceted effort that targets the aviation community.   It encourages innovative solutions through providing research grants and facilitating significant industry initiatives, acknowledges the progress of those who have made substantial contributions through its annual awards, and communicates new and important ideas through its education programs.

Charles and Anne Lindbergh, throughout their many pioneering flights, shared a previously impossible aerial view of the effects of the advance of human population and economic development on the land, water and air.  Realizing that technology was a major component of any equation describing how humanity would both advance and protect its environment, Charles Lindbergh became a very strong advocate for the environment.  The Lindbergh Foundation continues this legacy.

We hope to see you there!


The answer to yesterday’s Trivia Question is:  Whales.


In 1964, Charles Lindbergh first learned that the great blue whales and great finbacks were endangered.  He sprung into action and got the editors of Reader’s Digest to become interested in this subject.  He attended meetings of the International Whaling Commission, and wrote letters to the Prime Minister of Japan and the President of Peru, to warn them that continued whaling could cause the extinction of these animals.  He also wrote to ambassadors and cabinet members in the U.S. government asking them to apply pressure on those countries, and encourage whaling bans until the whales could reproduce sufficiently.  According to A. Scott Berg’s biography, Lindbergh, Charles even permitted a photographer from Life magazine to join him and his son on a two-week gray whale-watching trip to help the cause. 

Southern Right Whale


Today, the Lindbergh Foundation is also on the side of whales.  Paul Slusser and Daniel Geery are using remotely operated hyperblimp airships to study the endangered right whales.  This technology allows the animals to be observed without disturbing them.  You can read more about this exciting research here.




hyperblimp airship over water

Thanks for participating in our Trivia Question.  If you enjoy the trivia, please comment and let me know.  While you're at it, let me know what you'd like to read more about from the Lindbergh Foundation Blog.



We all know the mid-term elections are just around the corner, but the Lindbergh Foundation needs your vote today

The Lindbergh Foundation is competing against 19 other organizations for one of 5 gifts of $10,000 to be given by Lightspeed Aviation Foundation this fall. The newly created Lightspeed Vote TodayAviation Foundation actively supports aviation growth, education and works of compassion.  The top 5 organizations receiving the most votes by the pilot community will each receive a contribution.  I am personally asking you to join me in voting for the Lindbergh Foundation today! Simply click the VOTE NOW button at to vote.  It’s quick, easy, and could really help a great organization.

If you’d like to know more about the Lindbergh Foundation, read on!
Most people are aware of the numerous contributions Charles Lindbergh made to aviation, but few know that Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh worked at the leading edge of environmental awareness, a result of their ability to observe changes in our surroundings from a perspective previously unavailable to humankind — from the air. In their later years, the Lindberghs passionately supported many technological breakthroughs that improved the quality of life in such varied fields as medicine, education, and agriculture, all while stressing the importance of preserving our environment.
I believe the Lindbergh Foundation’s mission to advocate the balanced use of innovation and technology to benefit all life on Earth is even more relevant today.
For over 30 years, the Foundation has executed this mission by encouraging solutions, acknowledging progress and communicating ideas:

  • We encourage solutions through our Grants Program.  Bright, creative and innovative individuals receive grants to conduct scientific research or educational projects that address a variety of environmental issues, including projects that focus on aviation.  In recent years, the Lindbergh Foundation has funded projects that worked to reduce the drag over aircraft to improve fuel efficiencies, develop electric aircraft, use aircraft to save Koalas while supporting the timber industry, reduce noise pollution, test a direct injection fuel nozzle to accommodate the discontinuation of 100LL, and more!
  • We acknowledge progress through the Lindbergh Awards Program, which recognizes individuals and corporations whose work has made significant contributions to enhancing the quality of life while demonstrating a balance between technology and any environmental impacts.  Among our notable Award recipients are:  Harrison Ford, Jack Pelton, Jim Fowler, Neil Armstrong, Burt Rutan, Dr. Sally Ride, Capt. Eugene Cernan, and Sen. John Glenn.
  • We communicate ideas through educational programs that serve as a conduit for outreach, forums, symposia, publications and social media.  In all educational efforts, the purpose resonates with using technology to better the quality of all life while still being sensitive to environmental issues.

I hope you’ll support the Lindbergh Foundation today.  A simple click can help the Foundation earn $10,000 from the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation.  Please vote today.

The Lindbergh FoundationStephanie Mixson is very excited to be funding Stephanie Mixson's research into "Conserving Energy and Freshwater by Harnessing Saltwater Algae as a Biofuel Source." Her project is unique from other work being done to create biofuels from algae because she is focusing on saltwater algae, and being able to use existing coastal refineries to create a "drop-in" replacement for oil. Mixson added that, "One of the primary goals of this project is to produce aviation biofuels using microalgae."

Furthermore, the resulting product is expected to meet specifications for Jet A-1 and JP-8 fuels.

John King, co-chairman of King Schools, Inc., and board member of the Lindbergh Foundation, weighed in on this subject, saying, "To continue to be viable, the aviation industry must solve the problem of carbon emissions. The work Ms. Mixson is conducting, with support from the Lindbergh Foundation, offers one of the best hopes for a solution to this critical problem."

Dr. William Roberts, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at North Carolina State University, explained that the emissions from this fuel would not add additional greenhouse gases to the atmosphere because the feedstocks pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to grow (i.e., the carbon is non-anthropogenic), and by emitting less particulate matter, the radiation balance is affected in a positive way. "Microalgae is probably 7 – 10 years away from being commercially viable, and other oil crops, such as camelina or jatropha, could be ready in as little as 3 years at the scale of 10 million gallons per year using our process, with aggressive funding," said Dr. Roberts.

The best news is that competitive pricing, similar to petroleum at approximately $2.50 per gallon, is planned.

This project is very important and timely because as Ms. Mixson points out, two of the most important natural resources supporting modern civilization are oil and freshwater. Worldwide, there are already freshwater shortages and no substitutes for most freshwater uses including growing agricultural crops, manufacturing goods, and safeguarding human health. Furthermore, freshwater is being used to make fuel. Petroleum-based fuels are also being rapidly depleted, so scientists are turning to renewable biofuels. However, most attention has been on freshwater microalgae, which would further drain freshwater resources.

This is what the Lindbergh Foundation's concept of "Balance" is all about. Using science and innovation to tackle real-world problems that affect our environment and quality of life.

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