News Release - Spirit of St. Louis Rides Create Memories
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kelley Welf
Memories, Smiles, and New-Found Respect for Lindbergh’s Feat
Follow Rare Rides in EAA’s Spirit of St. Louis
MINNEAPOLIS (June 15, 2009) — The Lindbergh Foundation announced today that eight individuals from around the country enjoyed a rare opportunity to experience what few others have known -- a flight and some stick time in the EAA’s Spirit of St. Louis reproduction. The rides were part of the Lindbergh Foundation’s on-line auction and took place May 15-17.
“The Spirit is a great storyteller,” said Spirit Pilot Sean Elliott, director of Aircraft Operations at EAA. “If you read all the books written about the Spirit, they still don’t prepare you for the experience of what Lindbergh did when he flew that plane for 33 ½ hours.”
Larry Williams of Ballistic Recovery Systems, Inc., St. Paul, Minn., said, “I was awestruck to learn how unstable the aircraft is and how to keep it flying, you need constant input and diligence.”
Linden Blue of Spectrum Aeronautical, San Diego, Calif., said, “It was a big thrill to fly the Spirit and fly it from the seat that Lindbergh sat in. It allows me to better project what he went through. I have even greater respect for his airmanship after having seen how unstable the airplane is. There is no way it could get certified today. You have to fly it every second.”
The poor visibility in the aircraft is another eye-opener for those who get a ride in the plane. Not only was Charles an aviation pioneer, but he was also at the forefront of instrument flying. With no forward vision available, Lindbergh used instrumentation to navigate his way to Paris. The Earth Inductor Compass, invented in 1924, was very sophisticated instrumentation for the time.
“I found the ailerons heavy, relatively unresponsive, and they created considerable adverse yaw,” said Jeff Loeffler of Wyoming, Minn. “It helped to have a well-developed forearm and responsive feet,” he joked. “Flying over the Wisconsin fields, I couldn’t help drifting into thoughts of yesteryear and trying to imagine what it was like to occupy that seat over the Atlantic in 1927.”
Jesse Easudes of Pittsburgh, PA., is a lifelong admirer of Charles Lindbergh and a pilot with a deep affection for the Golden Age of aviation. Easudes never dreamed he would have a chance to fly in the Spirit of St. Louis. In fact, he didn’t bid on a ride for himself. He hoped to win a flight for his dear friend, Ev Cassagneres, a worldwide expert on the Spirit of St. Louis, who has written two books about the Spirit of St. Louis, yet never had a chance for a ride in the plane he knows so intimately. When Cassagneres was unable to accept the ride, and Easudes was unable to go himself, he offered the ride to his friend David Troup. Troup gratefully accepted and immediately arranged to return the favor and fly his friend Easudes to Wisconsin so they could both experience the flight of a lifetime.
“To hear about its handling characteristics is one thing but to actually experience them as a passenger and finally as pilot is quite another,” said Easudes. “Although I would have thought it difficult to do, this airplane increased the already tremendous respect I have for Lindbergh.”
“The Lindbergh Foundation is extremely grateful to EAA for making the Spirit available to us for our auction,” said Foundation Chairman John King, co-chairman of King Schools. “The Spirit is one of the most recognizable airplanes in the world. We are delighted to have made some dreams come true for a few very lucky people and we thank them for participating in our auction.”
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About The Lindbergh Foundation
The Lindbergh Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, based in Anoka, Minnesota, which supports great innovations that foster the environment for a planet in balance. The Lindbergh Foundation also values individual initiative and accomplishments. Its programs are devoted to supporting, honoring, and educating individuals, through three major programs: the annual Lindbergh Award, presented to individuals for significant contributions toward balancing nature and scientific innovation in their work; the Lindbergh Grants program, which provides grants in amounts up to $10,580 (the cost of building the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927) for research or education projects that will make important contributions to the technology/environment balance; and a variety of educational events and publications centered on the balance theme.
EDITORS NOTE: Photos from this event are available electronically here.