NYC to Paris: Lindbergh to Concorde, and the Next 100 Years

It was an early morning in the spring of 1927 at the dusty Roosevelt Airfield in Long Island, New York. Standing proudly but ever so nervously was a 25 year old airmail pilot by the name of Charles Lindbergh. He was about to fly a purpose-built single engine aircraft known by its nickname, The Spirit of St Louis.

That young man did not know what to think, what to feel, or what to expect. He was the first person to attempt such a peril. For the next33 hours, this young man would cover roughly 3,600 miles and land on another continent. The catch, though, was that he would fly the airplane solo.

For 33 hours, he managed to stay awake by tying a short wire to his finger on one end and a heavy metal nut to the other. He held the nut in his hand so that whenever he would fall asleep, it would fall to the ground and pull on his finger to wake him up.

That young man made history that day by flying from New York to Paris solo.

Today, over 3000 flights are made to NYC on a daily basis, with a lot of them crossing a path close to what Lindbergh flew that day. They functionally carry out the exact same thing he did, yet none of them are hailed as heroes, and barely any of them has their own Wikipedia page.

Without a doubt, what Lindbergh did was phenomenal, but in less than 100 years, the world has changed so much that his flight is no more than a day in the life of an Air France A380 pilot. We have shortened the time from 33 hours to 4 hours with the Concorde Supersonic Airliner, and a relief captain and first officer have replaced the metal nut.

If all that has taken place in 100 years, then what do the next 100 years look like? Aviation today is stronger than it has ever been. The advances in technology have made the next century a joy to look forward to. In less than 100 years, the world watched as the Wright brothers take off for 12seconds in Kitty Hawk, NC and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on our nearest celestial neighbor, the moon. In less than 100 years, mankind experienced the change it takes to cross the Atlantic Ocean from 33 hours to 4hours. In less the 100 years, we viewed the Gagarin’s spacewalk and the first commercial space flight.

It took 12 seconds and an idea to change the world at Kitty Hawk. Imagine how another 100 years will change the world we live in today.

Are you ready to become a witness to this change?

Better yet, are you ready to take part in this change? I know I am.

Raphael Traboulsi
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